Last week, I wrote a fairly long post about how happiness should not be our goal in life; how the pursuit of happiness usually ends up giving us less than we hoped for, while often giving us exactly what we asked for. Today, I was reading in Matthew again, still enjoying the Sermon on the Mount series of teachings, and lo and behold, Jesus seems like he wants us to be happy.
“Hold on,” you’re thinking right now. “You’re about to go off on that weird prosperity gospel stuff aren’t you?” Rest assured, I don’t see Jesus saying those things, and I certainly won’t either.
Why do we like Jesus? NT Wright pointed one reason out, and I guess I knew it, but had never really registered it: Jesus was a genuinely happy person. Sure, we see some of his darkest times, too, but those are more the exception than the rule.
Jesus talks about not worrying. He talks about flowers and birds and how God provides for them. He talks about a God who created beauty, food, and wonder simply for his creations to enjoy them. Jesus sees that creation is still good because it was made by a loving Creator. Jesus lived in the present. Yes, Jesus planned and laid foundations for days to come, but we do not see him stressing out or worrying about them constantly.
And there is the secret to happiness: not worrying. Or stated positively, trusting God with everything. Consider how much of our frustration and unhappiness is caused by worrying about something, whether we can do anything about it or not.
Jesus does want you to be happy: by trusting God with everything in your life and not fretting over the small or big stuff. It’s not a happiness that comes from achievement or gain, but one that grows out of contentment, trust, and reassurance.
When you have time today, read Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25-34. What are you worrying about? What can you let go of and let God handle? How can you model this faith (read “trust”) to your family?