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"Happy Christians"

Updated: Mar 14

Matthew 5:3-11

By Drew Zuverink

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:3-11).

Christian, are you a happy person? The greek word translated "blessed" is (μακάριοι) which means "happy, blessed, or fortunate." I want to be very careful in how I word this blog post because of the very real struggles of depression, anxiety, and just life in general - so please understand that I am not saying that Christians should expect to always be happy. Jesus was sad (John 11:35), Paul "despaired of life itself" (2 Cor. 1:8), David seemed to be depressed (Psalm 6:5-7), Job certainly was (Job 30:16-20), and Elijah wanted to die (1 Kings 19:4). We live in a broken world so life is often difficult which can make us very sad. However, as a general caricature, Christians have every reason to be happy.

Let's go back to the greek word (μακάριοι). In the sermon on the mount, Jesus looked right at the poor, the oppressed, the persecuted, and those who were mourning and said, "consider yourselves blessed and fortunate." More than one of them must have thought, "we're poor and oppressed by the wicked Romans, not to mention our corrupt Jewish leaders! How can you say we are blessed?!" Jesus goes on to say the reason they're blessed is because they were inheriting the kingdom of God which came with many blessings both in the present and in the future.

In the present God was establishing his group of kingdom people (the church) who, unlike the rest of the world, would operate in love. We see a beautiful example of this in Acts 4 when the believers share their resources so that "there was no needy person among them." What a blessing to be a part of a local church! On top of that, they would be called "God's children." As God's children they had the privilege of experiencing relationship with him, and they didn't know this at the time, but he would even put his spirit inside of them. Another major part of their new relationship was the forgiveness of their sins.

In the future when God finally brings heaven down to earth again, they would be given resurrected bodies to live in his new creation. Before then, when they died, God would bring them into his wonderful rest as they await their resurrected bodies. Death, although still an enemy, did not need to be as scary for them because they would live again. In fact, their second life will be even better because death, pain, sorrow, sin, and the devil will be gone.

Christians are truly fortunate and we have many reasons to be happy. Happiness gets a bad rap in Christian circles sometimes but it shouldn't. When believers embrace their blessings and become especially happy (μακάριος), it attracts other people to the faith. I know it does, I've seen it happen. I also know a couple of believers who exude happiness and it's refreshing. It's refreshing in comparison to other Christians that I know who are usually angry, complaining, grumpy, and just overall - downers. Again, I'm not talking about depression or other mental health problems, I'm just talking about grumpy Christians. There's a difference.

We are so incredibly blessed, fortunate, privileged, rich, and so on. Let's take some time today to reflect on all that is ours because of Christ. I pray it will make us as happy as the child in the photo above.

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