Do you remember that time you were truly happy? Hmmm . . . well that would depend on your definition of happiness, right? If we’re talking about fleeting bursts of energy when we accomplished much, or an emotional surge when a victory is experienced, then yes we can probably come up with some moments in our lives when we were happy.
Happiness does seem to be defined by fleeting moments rather than deep, abiding, experiences in life, doesn’t it? And yet we run after happiness with great determination and large sums of money. When happiness is dangled before us we find instant energy, no matter how exhausted we may be.
In America’s Declaration of Independence we discover that citizens in this country are afforded rights of which are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We have particularly grabbed the last of these to ride it for all it’s worth. I’m wondering how much closer we are in the pursuit of happiness to where we can actually grab it?
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5-7, begins by talking about the type of people that are happy. I’m convinced our Lord was not giving them a formula to follow or selling empty promises. Rather than focusing on happiness (Scripture uses the word “blessed”), He begins to lay out certain inherent qualities that are critical for a follower of Christ which appear and develop in the lives of people who are “truly happy.”
With each happy quality discovered in Jesus’ message, there seems to be this stark reality that those who are living in that state are extremely (and beyond understanding) satisfied. This leaves me asking a question or two. If those who are follow Jesus are to possess these qualities in increasing measure, then why does it seem so few are truly happy?
Could it be that rather than happiness being something to pursue for gratification it is actually a byproduct of living in Christ? Maybe the answer is to take all the energy, money, and determination used for chasing the whirlwind of happiness and exchange it for a deep longing and devoted pursuit of Jesus.
Jesus said this to His followers in John 15.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
The fruit is happiest and healthiest when it is on the vine. Your vine is Jesus. He supplies all that you need in a world where there is never enough. Live close to him and you’ll one day realize you are truly happy in Him.
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