Monday, September 29, 2008

Happiness in God

Does God want His children to be happy? Well, that depends. So many preachers today are spreading a false prosperity gospel that the Bible does not teach. God’s ultimate goal is not to make us rich and happy through material possessions. We exist for His glory and we bring Him glory when our happiness is in Him.

  • In James 1:2 we are commanded, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter trials of various kinds.”
  • Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 9:7, “Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.”
  • In Job 5:17 Job says, “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.”
  • Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
  • Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:17, “God… richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”
  • David proclaims to God in Psalm 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

My last two sermons (interrupted by two hurricanes) have covered Matthew 5:1-12 (the Beatitudes). These verses comprise the introduction to Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” which explains what it means to be a disciple and to belong to the kingdom of God. In these introductory verses Jesus describes the source of blessing from God or true happiness in God.

  • True happiness is not in itself the end for which we were created.
  • True happiness is not in itself the end for which we were saved.
  • True happiness is not something for which we can demand or are deserved.
  • True happiness is not something grounded in earthly treasures, circumstances, or your mood.

Let me recap those sermons and lay out the principles of “the beatitudes” in Matthew 5:

  • True happiness comes through acknowledging your own spiritual poverty (v. 3).
  • True happiness comes through sorrow (v. 4).
  • True happiness comes through controlling our passions and focusing them on our eternal purpose (v. 5).
  • True happiness comes through a pursuit of righteous living and righteous thinking (v. 6).
  • True happiness comes through demonstrating the mercy of God which we first received (v. 7).
  • True happiness comes through guarding your heart from impurities (v. 8).
  • True happiness comes through spreading the gospel of peace (v. 9).
  • True happiness comes through persecution and suffering (v. 10-12).

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