For Reading and Meditation:     1 Thessalonians 5:12-24

Now that we have spent a few days meditating on the fact that the Beatitudes provide us with the right mental and spiritual attitudes for healthy and abundant living, we are ready to begin focusing on the first of these profound statements: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3). Some translations read, "Happy are the poor in spirit '", and one goes so far as to say, "Congratulations to the poor in spirit '" It is important to keep in mind that the word "happy" (Greek makarios) carries a far richer tone than we commonly attach to the word. It suggests a deep, abiding happiness, not just a temporary emotional lift. In the very first words of the Sermon on the Mount, therefore, Jesus puts His finger on one of life's most vital issues - individual and personal happiness. We all want to be happy - and rightly so. The longing for lasting happiness is a deep-rooted instinct that has been built into us by the Creator Himself. The God who made the sunset, painted the rose, put the smile on a baby's face, gave the gift of playfulness to a kitten and put laughter in our souls is surely not happy when we are unhappy. Although it is a God-given instinct to be happy, we must also see that it is only God who can make us happy. Apart from Him and His redemptive love as expressed through the cross and the resurrection, we would be "most miserable" (1 Corinthians 15:19, AV). As someone once confessed: "Now that I know Christ, I'm happier when I'm sad than before when I was glad."

Thank You, my Father, that You not only command me to be happy but provide me with the resources which make it gloriously possible. One touch of Your gladness and my heart sings for ever. I am so deeply, deeply thankful. Amen.

Questions to Consider
  • What is the kingdom of God?
  • What is this joy full of?