five minute friday: smile
Happy is such an elusive word. In the secular world, it is pursued with vengence. Some die trying to grasp at it like a vapor. Some forgo some of the best life has to offer in search of the happy they think they want. IN the Christian world, it is often looked at poorly as if an ungodly pursuit that our Holy God will rap our sinful knuckles for chasing. Maybe it’s our own conscious that brings on that fear since what we think will make us happy is often fleshly, pleasurable pursuits that have nothing to do with real happiness.
So where does real happiness come from? Not just joy and godliness, but real honest happiness that causes our face to smile, refuels our heart and lightens our step. You know, makes us happy.
When was the last time you were really happy? When was the last time a spontaneous smile spread across your face?
Was it on a family vacation, a wedding day, at the birth of a new baby? Happy is often circumstantial, based on the situation around us. And the Word of God affirms that as well. The difference is that the world sees happy as something the circumstance does to us. The Word of God sees happy as something we do in our circumstance. Our response to the circumstance creates the happy in us according to the first stanza in Psalm 119.
The psalmist gives a detailed how-to- plan for the happy person in the opening of this psalm. This is a psalm whose theme is the Word of God, every benefit and purpose of it is detailed in this chapter. And this very psalm is the one that opens with “Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!”
So how do we make up with happy? How do we become people who are not happy based on what our situation does to us, but how we respond to our situation?
The three main stand outs for how to walk happy are based on what we are seeking, what we are seeing and what we are saying.
In verse 2 the psalmist is claiming to seek God with his whole heart. Rather than let the distractions and anxieties of the world crowd his heart for the Lord and keep him from Him, the psalmist is committed to using his energy to seek the Lord with his whole heart, all his affections and desires leaned towards the Lord. Don’t we often know this to be a happy experience when we are captivated in a moment by the perspective of the Lord? Life is happening, social media is screaming and dinner needs to be cooked. But in that moment we pause and shift our perspective back to a Truth in the Word or the reality of the Lord with us in the moment, and suddenly our feeling lightens. Happy washes over us.
I have heard it said that when riding a bike, where you look is where you will go. Same is true for happy. Where are you fixing your eyes? On lusts of the flesh, comparisons with others, or is it on food, lack, news…
Doesn’t that just end us up in a place of greed, jealousy, fear and pain?
The happy psalmist tells us where his eyes are fixed in verse 6. “Then I shall not be put to shame, having fixed my eyes on all your commandments.” This happy guy is looking at what God says about his situation, not what he feels about it or thinks about it, but just God’s truth regarding it. Where we fix our eyes will dictate what we think about something which will determine how we feel about it. If we start with truth then the feelings will result. Of course, the Word doesn’t cause us to be happy about everything. Many things break the heart of God and should break ours as well. But when we start with feelings, the cavernous hole within us will never satiate and bring us happiness, like starting with Truth will.
Finally what we say will lead us to our happy. The psalmist says, “I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules” in verse seven.
What our mouth says, our ears hear and our heart believes. Don’t believe me? Try spending the day not making one single verbal complaint. I bet you will feel more grateful and happy by day’s end. The psalmist knew this and opened his mouth with praise to God. Constant praise coming from our mouth reminds our greedy hearts that we do have enough when we have the Lord and everything else is just extra. Then happy comes and joins in the praise in our hearts.
When we pay attention to what we are seeking, seeing and saying, we begin to make up with happy and rather than an elusive feeling, it becomes our celebrated friend.
How will you make up with happy and begin to seek Him, see Him and speak of Him today?
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