From birth we are infused with an innate ability to be happy, to laugh, to giggle and delight in the simplest of things. But as we grow older and get more complicated, we actually lose the ability to be happy. In order to be truly happy we must first first recapture an understanding of what true happiness is.
In order to do this it is important to talk about what happiness is NOT: Happiness is not simply a collection of good times. It is not a passing feeling that life is good at this moment. We cannot limit happiness to something so transitory and temporary.
Unfortunately, many chose the wrong road in their pursuit of happiness. They follow the deceptive road signs that point them towards wealth, power, fame, and the passing pleasures of sin. All the time realizing that they are on a road of suffering and misery. For example, the Bible tells us that, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.”‘
So what is happiness?
In His landmark sermon Jesus starts with a series of profound statements commonly referred to as the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-11). Each one start off with the same statement, “Blessed is…” That word “blessed” has been translated by many scholars to mean, “How happy is the person who…” The kind of happiness that Jesus describes exists in the face of poverty, mourning, hunger, persecution, etc. It cannot be just a passing sense of well being. It has to be something much deeper, much more enduring, much more powerful.
I believe the happiness Jesus is talking about could be defined thus:
Happiness is joy unyielding!
The happiness Jesus is talking about is a joy that never backs down, it doesn’t give ground, refuses to crumble under pressure and stress, and never surrenders to hardships and tragedies of life. It stubbornly sticks around through every season of life and is the familiar friend that stands smiling on the other side of eternity welcoming you with open arms into heaven.
This kind of happiness is acquired through nurturing a consistent sense of God’s presence in your life!
It is derived from an approach to life that makes us increasingly mindful of God’s great presence with us at each passing moment. Happiness is also a skill that, like learning to ride a bike, once you have acquired you never forget how to have it. It endures through all the ups and downs of life. It is a deep sense of flourishing that arises from a heart, soul and mind that deeply rooted in an daily experience of the Truth Himself. Happiness is not a state of circumstances; it is a state of being! If you choose to not BE happy, then you will not be happy with any circumstances!
So, here are the 9 essential habits of truly happy people:
Habit 1 – When you are at the end of your rope, let go! (poor in spirit)
With less of you, there is more room for God When you lose control, you’ll find that God has always been in control. When you’ve lost your grip, you’ll find that God has a firm grip on you.
Happy is the person who experiences the security of trusting God’s sovereignty!
Habit 2 – When you lose what you love, embrace the Love you can never lose (mourning)
Losing what we love helps bring us back to our First love
We only know love because He first loved us. The only reason we can have affection for things or people because He set His eternal affection on us.
When we mourn over lost possessions, lost opportunities, lost jobs, lost friendships, lost pregnancies, lost siblings, lost parents – all these losses point us back to the fact that we are the ones that were loved first and loved the most. It reminds me that even though I have lost what I love, I have not lost Love itself. Because we have been loved with a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, a love that never fails. And nothing can separate us from His love!
Happy is the person who lives with the deep reassurance of God’s unconditional love!
Habit 3 – Be content with who you are and what you have (Meek)
When you are content with who you are and what you have, you will find yourself the happy owner of every precious thing that can’t be bought and that no one can take away!
Meekness is the willingness to accept what God gives and not struggle with Him or others for the things that He isn’t giving – It’s the open handed approach vs. the clenched fist approach
Happy is the person who accepts what God gives and doesn’t fight over what He won’t!
Habit 4 – Develop a great appetite for the things of God (Hunger for righteousness)
Hunger for righteousness is a holy discontentment with where we are currently. It is a longing and desire for more of God. God is most eager to fill that longing. So much of what we pray for we are not going to receive because we are asking with the wrong motives. All we want are pleasures – instead the of the Source of pleasure itself. We want the blessings but ignore the Blesser
Happy is the person who longs for what God is eager to give!
Habit 5 – Treat others better than they deserve (Merciful)
Mercy is an inclination to treat others better than they deserve. It is to not hold their faults against them. It is to view them with eyes of compassion instead of evaluation. When I extend mercy it reminds me that I have first received mercy. It opens me up to a fresh appreciation of the mercy that I have received. It reminds me that God does not treat me as my sins deserve. Forgiveness flushes the bitterness out of your heart and helps you appreciate the grace of God applied to you and everyone around you.
Happy is the person who drinks so deeply of mercy is leaks out of them!
Habit 6 – Simplify your affections (Pure in heart)
Your heart is the lens through which you see the world. If your heart is messed up, so will be your view of the world and everyone in it. But, if your heart is right – you will see God at work everywhere in the world – in all your circumstances, relationships, activities. You’ll see Him everywhere and in everything.
Happiness is a love of Life. God is the author of life. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life.” When you see God in everything, you love Life! People that hate their life or want to end their life have lost sight of God in their life
The problem isn’t with the circumstances of their life. The problem is with their heart that causes them to see their circumstances without the redemptive glory of God woven through each and every moment
Happy is the person who loves the life God gives!
Habit 7 – Keep the peace in order to keep the relationships (Peacemakers)
Peacemakers are more motivated to get along with others that in getting what they want from others. They understand that if you have to give up the peace in order to get your way, you’ve already lost the most valuable thing – you’ve traded treasure for trash.
When I chose to be a peacemaker I am proving that I have a new family of origin
Happy is the person who enjoys and expands the family business!
Habit 8 – Live with a singular devotion that stirs up opposition (Persecuted)
Don’t let your life be a boring, bland, uninspired collection of mediocre moments.
You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution because that persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
Happy is the person whose devotion pushes them deeper into God’s Kingdom!
Habit 9 – Live truthfully (Put Down)
When a person’s life is lived close to the truth it tends to bring the truth to close for comfort and people get uncomfortable with them. Their natural response will be to try and discredit that person so that they can justify their own lifestyle. But anyone who lives in the truth is no more broken by criticism than he is inflated by praise.
The greatest people of God have lived this way. They have always drawn great criticism. When you are being slandered for Jesus’ sake you are in good company.
Happy is the person who knows the signs of being in good company!