Written by Demetrius Hicks
Wanna Be Happy by Demetrius Hicks
I, like most others, have been on this journey to a fulfilled life, and honestly, a happy life. I’ve tried the American Dream route and sought to acquire things and certain relationships, but it always came up empty at the end. I then developed a very cynical view on the word “happy” in general. I figured God just desired for us to suffer daily on this journey and one day reach the happy place called heaven. I have witnessed friends, family and even strangers on reality shows run after this pursuit of happiness. It seems like the pursuit of happiness is almost an obsession in our culture. So the question is what is happiness? Where can we find it? Is it even worth pursuing?
One day I was reading about Jesus teaching on the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. In this famous Sermon on the Mount, I noticed him using the word “blessed” repeatedly. I did some research on that word, and in the Latin, it means “happy.” In the Greek, it comes from the word makarios, which means “happy; supremely blest; fortunate; well off”. I will admit I got super cynical (insert laugh here), but as I kept reading, I discovered Jesus was talking about a deeper inner happiness that wasn’t based on circumstances but on HIM and HIS way of living life!
Let’s walk together on this 8 day study of Matthew 5:3-12, and let’s discover what real happiness is. We will take it verse by verse, and I’ll give some things to think about and write about in your journal. I pray you have some sweet reflection time with God as we answer the question: Do you WANNA BE HAPPY?
Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."
In a world where independence is glorified, Jesus comes on the scene and says the way to true happiness is dependence on God. From the very first verse, we find Jesus presenting a radically different view of the happy life many of us desire. He uses the term “poor in spirit,” which means those who recognize they need God’s help. He also said the reward for those of us who live dependent on him is we experience the “Kingdom of Heaven,” which is simply God’s reality being lived through us on earth here and now through the power of the Holy Spirit! Could you imagine that for yourself and those you love?
What areas of your life do you need to ask for help in? What areas have you kept off-limits to the help God is offering?
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
We live in a world stricken with sin. As a result, we will experience spiritual, emotional, financial and all other kinds of loss which will lead us to mourning. Through our suffering servant King Jesus we are offered true comfort from one who suffered on our behalf and can identify and empathize with us daily. We don’t suffer and grieve as those who have no hope!
What areas of your life are causing you to mourn? Where can you receive God’s comfort?
Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The meek are the “gentle”. They are not after their own agenda or purposes. They understand God has their best interest at heart and don’t feel the need to climb over others to get ahead. At a financial conference, I heard another definition of the work meek. The facilitator described meekness as “having more in storage than what’s on display.” That really stood out to me because we all feel validated by flaunting what we have and what we do. Jesus says it is supposed to be different for his disciples. The reward for those who live this way is “inheriting the earth” as it also states in Psalm 37:11.
Where could you humble yourself today? Who could/should you treat in a gentler way?
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Are you satisfied? Whether you answered “yes” or “no,” this verse shows you the route to true satisfaction. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness understand that God is the source of true righteousness, and they daily respond to his invitation for relationship with him. There are so many things we run to for satisfaction. (Insert whatever came to your mind….yep, that, too. Haha!) These things always come up empty because they can never fill the God sized void every human has in his or her heart. Righteousness can’t be achieved but only received through the finished work of Christ. Our souls should long for God and his goodness.
What are you depending on for satisfaction outside of Christ? What areas of your life are you least satisfied in?
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
We live in a very unforgiving and critical world. It should be different for those of us in Christ. We have received the greatest gift of daily mercy and goodness that follows us all the days of our lives. We were dead in our sins and through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we were brought to life by his extreme and costly mercy. We get to model this as a response to what we’ve truly received.
Have you truly received his mercy in your everydayness of life? Are you merciful?
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”
In Jewish tradition, there was an over emphasis on ritual purity but Jesus taught that purity of heart was of utmost importance. A lot of well meaning religious people in that day wanted to follow the rules to the extremes but failed in the area of heart change that can only come from a relationship with God. The pure in heart daily seek God’s help to display the life transformation in this earth. Love the wording of Revelation 22:4 “they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads”.
Are you going through the motions but no heart change? Is seeing God the ultimate fulfillment for you?
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Our heavenly Father IS peace! He offers true “shalom,” which is a total well-being both personally and communally! We get the chance as adopted sons and daughters to promote and reflect this on earth. Galatians 3:26 “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith”. We aren’t fighting for a place in this world. We belong and are affirmed because of Christ.
Are you a peacemaker or trouble starter? Do you see yourself as a son or daughter of God?
Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they the prophets who were before you.”
Persecution in that time and even in other countries today is radically different from the kind we experience in America at this current time. In any case, it seems kind of odd that Jesus would call people blessed that are persecuted. You don’t necessarily think of a persecuted life being a happy life. We pride ourselves on our appearances and what others think about us. Social media has also contributed to our need to be spoken well of and “liked” but in our life with Christ there will be some instances where standing for what we believe will present opposition as it did with Jesus and every Christ follower before us.
Do you value your reputation more than your Faith? Are you willing to suffer persecution for the cause of Christ?
Final Thoughts and Prayer for you:
I really hope this devotional challenged, encouraged and inspired you to pursue happiness God’s way! I want to end this with a prayer of blessing over you:
Father, I thank you for every reader of this devotional. I pray that their minds were renewed as they have studied your word these past eight days. I pray they see you as a God that desires for them to have a full and satisfying life. I pray for a new perspective and a redefinition of the word “happy”. May they recognize that your way is best. I pray that what they have learned will change the world around them all for your glory! In Jesus name. Amen.