July 9: “Gratitude and Happiness”

8 Minute Read + Scripture readings

Today’s Bible Reading:

Joshua 11
Psalm 144
Jeremiah 5
Matthew 19

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Psalm 144:15 (CSB): “Happy are the people with such blessings. Happy are the people whose God is the LORD.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Some people are not convinced that following Jesus is the pathway to happiness. They believe that if happiness occurs, it is not directly tied to their pursuit of holiness.

Nothing could be further from the truth. God made us to be happy! Listen to the following quotes:

Blaise Pascal: “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”

Now, listen to the Christian scholar, C.S. Lewis, as he makes the point that God has intended for us to find our pleasure, our happiness in Him but we often settle for lesser, sometimes sinful, things:

C.S. Lewis: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

So, what does the Scripture say about this? Does it call us to be happy, and to be happy in the Lord and what He has done for us?

Psalm 37:4 (CSB): “Take delight in the LORD…”

Psalm 43:4 (CSB): “Then I will come to the altar of God, to God, my greatest joy. I will praise you with the lyre, God, my God.”

Psalm 144:15 (CSB): “Happy are the people with such blessings. Happy are the people whose God is the LORD.”

1 Peter 1:8-9 (CSB): “Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Friend, God has made us with a strong desire to be happy. He has made us to be happy in Him. If we are not happy in Him, He gets no glory and we lose the joy. But, when we find our happiness in Him, we both win!

(If you want to really explore this topic of our cravings for happiness and how God has made us to find our happiness in Him, read John Piper's book, "Desiring God.")

So, let’s get really practical here. Kim and I know how tough life can get. We’ve experienced plenty of “trauma” and I don’t use that word lightly. Life has certainly had it’s valleys.

What we have discovered is that if we are to be happy in the Lord, we’ve got to look beyond our troubles. In fact, we’ve got to see them differently. So, we have discovered the joy of gratitude. We will often actively look for something good and tell each other how thankful we are that the Lord has brought about that good thing. In other instances, when we get a fresh perspective on how something we originally thought was “bad” actually turned out for good, we’ll thank Him for that as well. There have even been times when we were in the storm and we thanked Him for what He was doing even though it seemed that nothing good would come of it.

I’m just saying that Kim and I have discovered that happiness can come when we thank the Lord for the events of our life. And, if Kim and I can find happiness through gratitude, you can too, friend. You can too.

* * * * * * * * * *

Lord Jesus, life can get hard. Sometimes, it can get really hard. But You have made me with a desire to be happy. Further, You have told me in Your Word that I can be happy in You and in what You are doing. Help me to act in faith and intentionally focus on thanking You for Your presence and Your blessings in my life. Then, while circumstances might not be a source of happiness, You will be. Amen.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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