She was much too happy. The cashier at a local convenience store greeted everyone so cheerfully as she performed her duties. "Are you always this happy?" I asked approaching the cash register. "Of course," she replied, "I only have so many days to live and I don't want to waste any of them on unhappiness."
Society encourages us to pursue happiness. Many commercials on television present a "slant" on what will bring us happiness -- from a luxury car to a total personal make over. The product or process usually has to do with self-gratification, self-esteem and proper self-reliance. In fact, the US Declaration of Independence declares that we have the right to the pursuit of happiness.
Certainly a happy moment, a happy day, a grand event is a great treat. A good laugh and a bright spirit produce energy and fun. Who would criticize a great time together with happy people? But happiness tied to this material world has its limits.
Rather, a blessed happiness (or joy deep within) is promised as a by-product to those who develop the traits described in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12):
- Humility as demonstrated by our poverty of spirit - our complete inadequacy before a righteous God, our mourning over our sinfulness and a meekness with increased awareness of sin. Thank goodness that God's mercy and grace through Jesus have resolved this inadequacy.
- Hunger and thirst for righteousness that is demonstrated in our passion to be like Jesus in goodness and righteousness
- Heart attitudes of mercy, purity, peacemaking and contentment in persecution
This joy which God offers to us resulting from these character traits is long-lasting and complete. The world's happiness is often short and its satisfaction shallow. Join me this week in pursuing heavenly joy!
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy," (Psalm 30:11)