It struck me recently that the world believes that we have a right to happiness. Modern technology means ideas can be promoted around the world in moments. Advertising depends on the idea that we must pursue happiness at all costs, with suggestions that if we just get this holiday or that new sofa or this car, or maybe if we can get our hair just the right colour and reduce our wrinkles, then we will be happy. Vast industries have grown up to take advantage of this. It is not entirely an ungodly idea. After all, God loves us and wants to bless us and prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11).
However, as I was meditating on these thoughts, I came across today’s verse in Psalm 119, ‘Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found’. How different from what the world believes will lead to happiness! This Scripture says that if we follow God’s commands, we will find happiness. So, I began to think about the things the Lord Jesus has asked and commanded us to do. ‘But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44); ‘But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also (Matthew 5:39); ‘If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins’ (Matthew 6:14-15).
Also, the apostle Paul wrote, ‘I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:11-13).
In the Bible God commands us to do many things like my small list above which, humanly speaking, might not seem as if they would lead to happiness, but they are the path God longs for us to walk, because He knows what is best for us.
Sometimes God asks us to do things that are extremely hard, but He knows are for our own good. I saw a middle-aged woman on the TV news the other night, whose father had been shot when she was a little girl. She said that she had forgiven those responsible long ago because she did not want to give them the satisfaction of robbing her of her life as well as her father’s. That is wisdom from God. Unforgiveness would have robbed her of life and happiness. The good news is that we don’t have to make these choices in our own strength. As Paul tells us in Philippians, we can obey God’s commands with the help of Jesus Christ who gives us strength.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus please enable us by Your power and strength to walk along the path of Your commands, because we know that is where our true happiness is found. Thank You. Amen.
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