It's probably safe to say that we all want to be happy, to live a long life... of love, joy and peace. And yet how do we achieve this? Well, I reckon most would consider the way to true happiness to be found through the following list...
By working hard to accumulate wealth.
By cultivating fulfilling and rewarding personal relationships
By acquiring fancy cars and luxury-filled homes.
By achieving high social status.
By maintaining excellent physical and mental health.
By seeing as much of the world as possible through cruises and holidays.
By supporting worthwhile charitable causes.
By enjoying as much comfort and pleasure as can be found.
The list goes on and on. But although all these things are fine in themselves, this is the wrong list! The Bible says that the real way to deep and lasting happiness is in finding a right relationship with our Maker, Almighty God. And His list is very different from the world's. In fact, He says we're blessed (happy) when we're...
POOR IN SPIRIT
When, in taking a hard honest look at ourselves, we acknowledge our spiritual poverty, our bankruptcy before God... finding true, deep and lasting spiritual wealth in Him.
When we begin to recognise the awfulness of the sin in our lives and are genuinely remorseful for it... and with God's help, turning away from all we know to be wrong.
When we exercise genuine self-control, even when we're severely mistreated. This is a demonstration of true meekness... not weakness, but real strength of character.
HUNGERING AND THIRSTING FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
When we long for our lives to be characterised by all the attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ, the 'fruit of the Spirit'... pursuing His likeness throughout our daily living.
When we show mercy to others, no matter what they've done to us... just as God has shown mercy to us by sending His Son, Christ Jesus, to become our Saviour and Lord.
PURE IN HEART
When we're single-minded and sincere in our devotion to Christ Jesus... wanting to put Him first in every aspect of our lives and aiming to please Him in everything, at all times.
When we aim to bring peace to every situation in which we find ourselves... always seeking to promote harmony whenever and wherever relationships become strained.
When we become willing to suffer for the sake of Christ Jesus, even to the point of giving our lives for Him... remembering that He has already given His life for us at Calvary.
Let's pursue happiness according to the list of Christ Jesus.. not that of the world.