Friday, April 8, 2011

Christianity and Happiness 101: Breaking Down the Beatitudes Pt. 4

I would ask that if you read my blog, you subscribe to it. Really, that is so that I can gauge how many people read it. Thank you, people who support me.

Anyway, same thing as before, please read this and comment or share it if you feel blessed.

And if you will write for this, or you have something you want me to write about, email, comment or message me.

Matthew 5:6

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled."

Blessed. Happy. An objective state of grace.

For me, that is the big question. What is happiness?

I defined blessed in my first post. But I want to address it again.

Less clinically. Because knowing what it means does not necessarily translate to understanding what it is and how you can have it in your life.

Happy. Everybody I know seems to want to be happy, but every time I ask somebody what it is to be happy they can't give me an answer. To be honest, I think that is because most people want to be immediately satisfied, but all the time. Including me. When I am faced with a choice between something that is right and something that is easy, it seems like the easy option will make me feel better.

An example, I struggle with overeating. I know that. I also know how to be healthy. Exercise more than I eat, but I don't feel like running when I am tired from a long day of work. I don't feel like making myself a healthy meal when I could just microwave a burrito. It is so much easier to do what I know will ultimately make me feel worse.

And that is pretty much across the board, when we have to decide between right and wrong, wrong is almost always the easier option. Which is why Christianity is not exactly an easy thing. But when we decide to do hard things. Like if I eat an apple and peanut butter instead of that burrito, if I run for 30 minutes instead of watching a sitcom, ultimately I will be more healthy. So the hard things make us happy, if we are willing to postpone satisfaction from immediate to ultimate. The more I think about, the more ultimate happiness seems better than being happy for a few minutes or hours.

Now hunger. A strong need or desire for food.

Jesus was once tempted by the Devil during his 40 day fast in the desert.

Satan told Christ that He should turn a rock into a loaf of bread, to satisfy the need for food.

"Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."

That is what Jesus said. Because although His body wanted food, He knew that God's providence is spiritual even more than physical.

There is a scene in the Gospel of John right after a very important interaction with the woman by the well where Jesus was speaking about living water. “Everyone who drinks this water [from this well] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman understood and she was saved. But as she left to go be a missionary, which is another story all together, his disciples returned from her village with food for Jesus.

“Rabbi, eat something.” they said.

But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

Then His disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought Him food?”

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work."

That is the hunger and thirst. Hungering for bread of life and thirsting for living water even more than you desire physical sustenance.

On that note, God did call all of His followers to fast. And I strongly recommend it. I fasted for 4 days last year. When you desire God's spiritual food more than physical food, you grow close to Him and He draws near to you. It is very hard to sin when you are actually letting God live in and through you.

Pray, see if God is calling you to a season of fasting.

Righteousness. There are actually two types.

1) Situational: That is the righteousness that we have to work for. It is the actual act of being good. It is when we choose to do right, or choose not to sin. It is what we are called to work towards.

2) Positional: That is the righteousness we were given through grace and the blood of Jesus Christ. It cannot and will not be taken away from anybody who accepts it. It is a gift.

So "blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" that means that you will be happy if you desire to do good, if you have a strong need inside of you to not sin. You want more than anything to live according to God's laws.

"For they will be filled."

They is us. If we actually start desiring to be righteous.

Will. That verb is definite. It is not might or may. There is no could or probably.

It is a promise, something to be certain about.

Filled. It is when you pour into a container the maximum amount it can contain.

When we desire righteousness, God will begin to pour into us.

Jesus says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

God wants us to be happy. He wants us to be happy, and most of the time we choose to not be happy because it takes work. It takes some effort, some real commitment.

Salvation is a gift. It cost you nothing, and God everything. But discipleship, growing with God, costs you everything. But even as you and I surrender to God, every part of our lives, He makes us better. He purchased our souls, but He is asking us to start paying the price so that He can give us true happiness.

Yesterday I was sitting on my couch. I asked my friend if he wanted to hang out. He told me to come over.

Every Thursday, he and this old guy, Jim make sandwiches and go feed the homeless.

I went with them, and we talked about how a lot of the homeless people have access to food to eat, but they are spiritually unsatisfied. They are hungry, but how can we feed others when we refuse to let ourselves be fed? How can we pour into them when we don't allow God to pour his righteousness into us?

My mother told me this once.

"Pessimists see a cup as half empty.

Optimists see a cup as half full.

Christians should see their cup as running over."

I am usually a pessimist, but I think that I, and everybody else, should start accepting God's offer of joy in our lives.

How to be Happy

Step 1: Be humble, receive power and responsibility.

Step 2: Be broken, accept the gift of the Holy Spirit for comfort.

Step 3: Be submissive, gain access to the tools you need for service.

Step 4: Be empty, let God fill you with righteousness.

A chance to respond.

What is happiness to you?

Do you want to be fed spiritually more than physically?

Who pours into your life?

Who do you pour into?

Any prayer requests or topic requests?

Friday, April 1, 2011