Some Thoughts on Happiness

From my Month of Sundays devotional booklet:

…as is taught in the glorious Good News of the ever-blessed God, with which I was entrusted. — 1 Timothy 1:11

Blessed…we hear that expression so many times. We tell people to “Be blessed…” and hopefully people tell us that too. (The Wiccans turn that around and greet each other with “Blessed be…” so be careful!) We want God’s blessings on our life, and we think that, if we were especially blessed by God, we would have it made.

But the scripture passage puts a new twist on that: God is described as “ever-blessed.” How can this be? Who can bless God? Who can give to him anything when he declares that “Every creature in the forest, even the cattle on a thousand hills, is mine?” (Psalms 50:10)

The simple answer is to look at the original: the word “blessed” translates the Greek makarios, which simply means, “happy.” According to Paul, when we say that God is blessed, he means that God is happy, and happy for all eternity.

People make two serious mistakes when they consider happiness:

  1. They think that happiness is a function of having many material possessions. They don’t understand that poverty is the state of not having enough, and “enough” is whatever you define it as. Some go through life never having enough, even when they, to the rest of us, are very wealthy.
  2. They think that God wants us to be miserable. They point to all of the rules that are laid down. But God does not mean for our relationship with him to be defined by rules but by the finished work of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross.

Happiness lives in God; when we live in him, we are happy.

Man’s chief aim in life is to be happy. Our Lord Jesus Christ came into this world in order to give us the means for attaining this happiness. To find happiness where it should be found is the source of all good, and the source of all evil is to find it where it should not be found…Let us also see the goal where happiness is found, and the means to attain it. (Bossuet, Meditations on the Gospel)

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