Friday, January 18, 2013

Happiness is. . .?

Merriam-Webster defines “happiness” as (a) a state of well-being and contentment or (b) a pleasurable or satisfying experience. “A pleasurable or satisfying experience” relates to happiness being temporary. “A state of well-being and contentment” could mean either permanent or temporary. Can a person live in continuous happiness in this world? I suppose the majority would say “no;” but, deep inside me, I want to say it is possible.

Why do I say that I think it is possible? If we place our pursuit of happiness in Life, it would have to be possible because, in Life, there can be nothing bad. When we place our pursuit of happiness in temporal things, things of the world, we are then placing our pursuit of happiness in death or the dying because all these things are passing away. Experience also testifies to this fact. We have all desired something; and, when we finally receive it, the happiness is short-lived. Temporal things cannot give permanent happiness; therefore, permanent happiness can only be achieved in Life—God.

To support this, we think of the Beatitudes. Happy are the humble whose confidence is in God. Happy are those who mourn over their sins and the sins of others, for they will be comforted by God. Happy are the meek; they know they shall inherit the kingdom. Happy are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Happy are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Happy are the pure of heart, for they will see God. Happy are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Happy are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of Christ. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

If we look closely, we see that the beatitudes are cyclical. True happiness begins with humility, with confidence in God. This humility causes us to mourn over sins, our personal sins and the sins of others, and God will comfort us. Mourning over sin and being comforted by God lead us to showing meekness (gentleness). We are now exhibiting love for neighbor because of God’s love for us. Because of this love of God and neighbor, we know we shall inherit the kingdom. This knowledge causes us to hunger and thirst for righteousness. This hunger and thirst for righteousness being satisfied causes us to show mercy. Because we are showing mercy, we will be shown more mercy, which leads us to being pure of heart. The pure of heart are peacemakers for they bring others to the knowledge of Christ. Due to the peacemakers being children of God, they will be persecuted. Being persecuted causes humility, and the cycle continues. Each cycle enhances our happiness because each stage brings us to more Christ-likeness.

Happiness is in Life, not death (temporal things), and Life is in God, through Jesus Christ, by power of the Holy Spirit.  T.T.