The Quest for Real Happiness

CT.2-3
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
~Matthew 5:8

The Comparison Trap:  Week Two, Day Three… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

One of the biggest takeaways for me in today’s devotional is the photo above. The locked gate has two sides and two perspectives. Some of us might look at the closed gate and see that the lock keeps us from getting to the other side, but some of us might look at the closed gate and see that the lock keeps in what it’s meant to keep inside its bounds.

Which one do you see?
I hope you can see both.

With the ugliness in our culture and in our world, these are times when we need both sides of that gate to exist. The challenge with the gate is in finding our purpose, our joy and our happiness within the confines and within the freedoms the gate might offer. It can seem like an elusive search.

In today’s verse, the word blessed can also be translated as happy. This isn’t just your “chocolate makes me happy” kind of happy; it’s much more.

It’s the most supreme happiness.

Strong’s Definitions defines the original word makários (from the Greek word μακάριος) as supremely blest. If you go to Blue Letter Bible, you’ll see that Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines the same word as the nature of that which is the highest good. This is a pretty special word, and it means a pretty special way of being blessed.

These are the people who will see God.
These are the people who will behold Him.

The first qualifier to being blessed this much is being one who has put their faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. Without this, there is no blessing. With this, we can know the eternal blessing of forever being in His presence, but we can also learn to fully experience His blessings and presence on this side of eternity. We will find a special happiness when we do.

Whaaaat? When? It can sound pretty big, but it’s something every Christian with a personal relationship with Jesus wants to have happen to them. I know I’ll walk in His presence someday, but I’m working toward that dwelling place right here on this earth and in this lifetime. It is possible to achieve a truly happy version of that right now.

How?
Do you know that?
Are you working toward that?
Do you live a version of that now?

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
~Proverbs 4:23

For the purposes of this study and where we are in walking through the Comparison Trap, it’s about ridding ourselves—as best as we can—of the temptations and comparisons all around us. Doing so as a follower of Jesus will allow us to start to have a pure heart… one pure enough to allow “us to recognize God’s gifts, to discern his will, [and] to feel his nudging.”

Sandra Stanley closes today’s devotional with a sample prayer. Do more than just repeat the words… approach them with a purely guarded heart:

“Heavenly Father, I so very much want a pure heart. I commit today to doing the work it takes to clean out the comparison and other temptations that make it harder to see you and your will for me.”

When we start to figure all of this out, we’ll see that the locked gate provides us some guarded protection in this life by keeping out what will keep us from being pure AND by keeping in all He wants us to know in order to be supremely blessed by knowing, feeling and walking in His presence.

 


 

 

 

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Finding Hope in the Desires of Your Heart

Sunrise.Desires of the Heart

Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

The Lord waits patiently for us to make Him the desire of our heart. When we finally do, our desires transform into His desires, and He is finally able to freely grant us the desires of our heart, because HIS desires are also now OUR desires.

So often, we wait in hope for Him to bless us by granting us our desires. On the surface, this verse might seem to promise just that:

“Lord, I’d like this for my life.”

“I’d like to be able to do this for you, for my family or for my church, Lord. If you’ll just help me…”

“If I could just have this, Lord, I’d finally be content and be able to focus more on becoming more of what you’d like me to be.”

Does any of this sound familiar to you? I know I’ve done it many times over. We all contain that rebellious part of our nature that will try to reason with Him in our mind (and on occasion, in our prayers) to convince our Self that what we really do desire is, of course, what He would also desire for us. We convince our Self that our desire must have come from Him, and it, of course, would be a good thing for us and for our relational walk with Him in the long run.

“…Thy will be done…” We’ve all prayed it. We’ve all said it. Yet, have we really meant it? His Will will never fall short for us. He’ll work all of what He allows into our life for His good and for our good, too (Romans 8:28). We can read that in His Word, and we can believe it on the surface and in our believing ways, but if we truly trusted that His Will was the best way, it would embody us to our core, and we would want nothing more. Instead of constantly going to Him with our often-carnal desires, our hope-filled prayers would be a yearning to know what He would desire of us, so we could then line up our Will with His.

When our desires are lined up with His desires, He WILL give us the desires of our heart! It’s a deep thought that we are challenged to wrap around in our minds, as we are so often focused on Self desires rather than His desires. He wants nothing but the best for us. That does not mean life will be perfect and always smooth-sailing, but it does mean that our joy will be complete in Him (John 16:24), by Him and through Him no matter what this earthy life throws at us.

THIS is the beauty of walking in fellowship with the Lord…

…of praying without ceasing,

…of doing His will,

…of living life through His ways,

…of honoring HIM with all that we do, say and think,

…and of following the path that He has laid out before us.

“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” He WILL give you the desires of your heart, because your desires will be His desires, and His desires will be your desires!