This is the first in a blog series taken from my year long devotional 10 Minutes to Better Living: Daily Applications From the Life of Christ.
How to Be Truly Happy – Humility
Read Matthew 5:3
Everyone wants to be happy. Life is always easier if we are happy. It is those days when we are unhappy our life seems like such a drag. In the coming weeks, we are going to look at several ways that Jesus says will make us happy. At first glance, several of these ways will not appear to bring us happiness. But looking deeper into it, we will see how our life can be so much better and happier if we learn to develop these characteristics in our lives.
At the beginning of what is considered by many to be the greatest sermon ever preached (commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus gives us eight qualities that every Christian should be developing that brings about happiness. The word that many translations of the Bible translate as blessed appears nine times in the Matthew passage and it literally means happy or fortunate.
At first many people might view these qualities (commonly known as the beatitudes) as negative things because so many of the words used to describe these qualities appear negative. However, in God’s eyes, they are not bad things. A closer examination of what each one means might help shine the light on why these qualities are designed to make you happy or fortunate.
Have you ever known someone who talks and acts like he or she is God’s gift to the world? Perhaps they are wealthy or hold a high position at their job. They know it and sometimes they let everyone else know it too. We call these people arrogant. They like to talk about themselves and they think everyone else likes to hear about them. They always want to be the center of attention and cannot stand to be in a secondary role in anything. Hopefully you are not one of these people. God never has anything good to say about people who are full of pride.
However, He does have a lot of good to say to those who are humble. The very first quality mentioned in the famous Sermon on the Mount is humility. Now humility does not mean you go around saying you are terrible and no good. It does not mean you put down yourself all the time. Humility is simply recognizing who you really are before God. It means you know that apart from God you can’t do anything good. You know that nothing you do on your own can amount to much, but what God does through you has a great impact.
If you want to be really happy in life and you want God to bless you, then the first thing you need to do is realize your need for Him. Those arrogant people we all know are actually not truly happy. They have to build up themselves and get approval from other people and even stay in the limelight to be happy. They base their happiness on what they have done or how they look. God wants us to base our happiness on the fact that we don’t have to perform or even be anything special. We just have to lean on Him and let Him live through us.
This verse goes on to tell us that for those who recognize their need for God, the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them. That means 1) when they die, they will go to Heaven because they had the proper relationship with God. And 2) they will be ones who will see on earth God’s kingdom moving because they are looking at God, rather than themselves.
Making it Personal
Ask yourself, ask God, ask your spouse, and ask your friends if you are known as being an arrogant person. If they say, no, then write that down in your journal. If they say, yes, then write that down as well.
Do you make it a habit to thank God regularly for what He has given you?
When someone congratulates you for something, do you feel good because you have done something great? Or do you immediately pass on the praise to God because you know in your heart that apart from Him, you could not have done it?
Are there things you have seen that you know God has done and you know you cannot take credit for them? If so, list some of them.