Monday, February 15, 2010

You Can Be Happy (Really!)

Medical science is rediscovering the beneficial effects of a cheerful, positive outlook on physical health. Of course, the Bible has known this all along! The writer of Proverbs found that “A merry heart does good, like medicine” (17:22). Being happy is an important part of being healthy.

The word happiness comes from the same word, “hap,” as happen does. For many people, happiness depends on what happens. But real happiness has a far different basis. It is an inner sense of joy, regardless of circumstances.

Happiness begins outside ourselves, in the God who delights in us and wants us to delight in him. Psalm 1:2 says of the truly happy person, “his delight is in the law of the Lord.” In Psalm 37, we are advised not to fret or worry. Instead, “Trust in the Lord, and do good…Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart” (3-4). On the eve of his own crucifixion, Jesus promised, “These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

When we find our happiness in God, he grants our deepest desires, and inward joy is matched by outward satisfaction and well-being.

This essay appeared in Guideposts magazine's "Our Prayer" newsletter.

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