Going Deeper 2/13/2019

The Psalm for Epiphany 6...
Psalm 1   Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.  They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Who doesn't want to be happy?!  Everybody wants to be happy!! The question is, what does it mean and what does it take to be happy?  Is happiness simply an emotion that expresses itself in smiles and laughter?  That is certainly part of it.  But the kind of happiness the Psalmist has in mind runs much deeper.  This has to do with a deep and enduring sense of well-being.  Not just laughter and smiles, but a sense that life is good, life is worthwhile.

Because of the impact of sin upon our lives, upon the lives of everyone around us, and even upon all of creation, laughter and smiles are fleeting.  Even a sense of well-being, a feeling that life is good, is not consistent for anyone.  Life is a lot more like a roller coaster than a cruise ship.

The important teaching here is that we must redefine what true happiness is.  According to the Psalmist-- and according to the Scriptures as a whole-- true happiness is not found in doing what we want, but rather in doing what God wants.  The broken world, along with our broken nature, seek to convince us that in order to be happy, we need to have everyone else serve us.  But the Scriptures reveal what God wants... God wants us to love and to serve.

The greatest sense of well-being is found when we are being re-created, transformed, and drawn deeper in our love and service of God and others.  There is great joy to be experienced in bringing joy to others.  There is great healing to be experienced in bringing healing to others.  It truly is better to give than to receive.  

Yet before we can give, we must first receive... we must receive God and His gifts more and more fully into our lives.  This is an ongoing process of opening ourselves more and more fully to the Holy Spirit of God so that we can continue to receive grace upon grace.  Experiencing the love of God is what moves us away from our sinful desire to serve ourselves and moves us into a growing desire to love and to serve God and others.

I hope and pray that you have a happy day!

With You in His Love,
Mark