*By Beth Smith
Is it true that the only difference between a yard sale and a trash pick-up is how close to the road the stuff is placed?
Why don’t we ever hear father-in-law jokes?
If you take NyQuil and NoDoz at the same time, will you dream you couldn’t sleep?
Life is full of questions, some funny and some serious. Here’s a common one. How can we be happy? We can start by being ready to laugh at life and at ourselves, quick to look for the humorous side of things. Laughter doesn’t solve our problems, but it can make them easier to bear for a while.
Most of us think we can be happy only when things are going well, but the Bible tells us how to be happy Christians no matter what. The Amplified Bible uses the word “happy” as a synonym for the word “blessed.” So, in looking to be happy, we can look at how to be blessed. The book of Psalms tell us that blessed or happy is the man (or woman) who:
- is forgiven of sin (32:1).
- trusts and takes refuge in the Lord (34:8).
- helps the poor and weak (41:1).
- continually sings praises to God (84:4).
- fears the Lord and delights in obeying him (112:1) .
Proverbs says those are blessed who
- keep God’s ways (8:32).
- listen to God (8:34).
And Matthew chapter five lists these qualities of a happy person:
- aware of a need for God.
- gentle and lowly.
- desiring righteousness.
- pure in heart.
- persecuted for following God.
Obviously, God has plenty of advice for us on how to be happy. I want to stress just two ways today. First, we need to be happy and thankful for a heavenly Father who loves us enough to discipline and correct us. Sometimes, when things are hard for me, when I am not getting my own way about things, I can almost hear God saying, “I’m allowing this situation only for your own good, because I love you. You need to change something in your life. I want you to be happy, and you will never be happy or have joy on the path you are following right now. Come on, follow me.”
Hebrews 12:11 tells us that, while discipline is painful, it leads to a rich harvest of right living. So, as odd as it may sound, we need to be happy that God will discipline us.
Here’s a second way the Bible tells us we can be happy and blessed. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.” (Psalm 128: 1-2).
What does this tell us we should do? Fear and follow. Acknowledge our Lord as the Almighty God. Worship him. Obey him. Emulate Jesus. Will that be hard? Yes, because our flesh is weak and rebellious, and because Satan does not want us to be happy. But Jesus wants us to be happy – to be blessed and full of joy.
How can we become happy Christians? A full answer to that question would surely fill at least one book. These principles do not cover everything, but they are a great place to start:
- Worship God.
- Obey his commands.
- Receive his discipline.
- Follow his instructions.
- And do it all with joy.