Great happiness ∙
I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary and fully refresh the souls of those who are faint. – Jeremiah 31:25
29 And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things.
30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.
31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
32 So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
Have you ever been persuaded to purchase something that you never had any intention of purchasing? If so, you might well have been hooked by psychological advertising.
John B. Watson is the father of the psychology of behaviorism. He developed Behavioral Conditioning.
Watson enjoyed a successful, early academic career at Johns Hopkins University, until he was engulfed by scandal and dismissed from his position. But he landed on his feet and made a smooth transition from academics to Madison Avenue. Having mastered the art of human conditioning, he leveraged his knowledge to become overwhelmingly successful in advertising and marketing.
Watson developed several successful, high-profile advertising campaigns for Maxwell House coffee, Scott toilet paper, Ponds cold cream, and other personal-care products. He popularized the term “coffee break” while promoting Maxwell House coffee. Marketing was based on creating desire, brand loyalty, and product image. How would you feel if you saw a bunch of doctors discussing a patient and asserting that the medical problem was the result of “harsh toilet paper?”
The appeal is transparent: true happiness stems from having the best products, experiences, and services available.
But what is happiness?
REFLECT & PRAY
The world hopes for the best, but the Lord offers the best hope (John Wesley).
Father, encourage me to seek Your kingdom above all else and find satisfaction and contentment in what You provide.
The word happy entered the English language in the 14th century. It originally had the connotation of being “lucky.” Thomas Hobbes shifted the emphasis to the accumulation of material gain and the positive feelings which so doing elicited. Thomas Jefferson clearly stated that the Creator had endowed all people with the inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” For Jefferson, happiness was the enjoyment of life and liberty in calm tranquility without the fear of interference or reprisal. Happiness today has morphed once again into the pursuit and acquisition of peak experience. We try to collect moments of happiness that never seem to last.
If happiness is about having enough, can we ever be truly happy? The answer is of course, No. Why? Because we worry that we will not have enough. And that which we have accumulated seems to seep away, diminish, go sideways, or lose its edge. Additional anxiety enters the picture, and our pursuit of happiness gradually intensifies. But this is a fool’s errand. We find ourselves grasping for what we can never obtain. We clutch at foolishness.
Uneasiness tears at the fabric of our souls. “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength” (Corrie Ten Boom). Worry spawns and fosters an incorrect view of life and the Father. Our inner turmoil fixates on temporal values and material things. But what does worry accomplish? Nothing!
Life forms not created in the image of the Father are under the Father’s care. The Father watches over and provides for them. If the Father looks after flowers and birds, how much more will He take care of His children? The Father encourages us to trust Him and work alongside Him making the most of the abilities and opportunities that He gives us (1 Thessalonians 4:10-12).
He is all-sufficient. Because of our weak faith, the problem abides in us.
Worry results from a lack of faith and trust in the Father’s provision. Let’s call worry what it is, sin.
How do we overcome worry? We began with a clear understanding and recognition of Who and What the Father is. The Father is neither weak nor feeble. We recognize that the Father is all-sufficient and that He promises to care and provide for us.
But there is more. The Father wants to take care of all children of the King. The Father takes great pleasure in giving us His kingdom.
When our hearts are fixed on the transient things of earth, worry will linger within us. But when we fix our eyes on the eternal, then our hearts and minds will be guarded by the peace of God (Philippians 4:6-9, Wiersbe).
Biblical happiness is something entirely different from earthly happiness. The word “happy” is found in The King James Bible 28 times. The word “happiness” is not found at all. Instead, the Scriptures speak of blessings. There are over 300 instances of the use of the term “blessed.”
The Hebrew word translated blessed is barak. Barak meant “to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc.” (TWOT) “Blessed is the most common word in the Old Testament for God doing something favorable to someone or something” (UBS). The Bible never promises that the Father will make us happy. But it does promise that He will bless us.
The Father never tells children of the King to seek happiness. He encourages us to find contentment and be at peace. The Father has a better way. The Father knows our needs and promises to provide for them. More than that, the Father delights in caring for us. When we seek His kingdom above all else, the storehouse of blessing is open wide.
29 So do not be overly concerned about what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things.
30 For all the unbelievers all over the world pursue these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
31 Instead, pursue his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom.
Happiness in giving and caring for others is probably embodied in the esprit de corps of the United States Marines. With its official motto, “Semper Fi,” the Marines maintain a volunteer organization called WOCHP (Words of Comfort, Hope, and Promise). They intend to bless others, to do them good, and not harm. November and December are marked by the collection and distribution of Christmas Care Packages and Toys for Tots. The WOCHP motto is “What makes a nation great is love for one another.”
Happiness is bound up in the Father’s love, care, and concern for us. We demonstrate His love, care, and concern for us, by loving and caring for others.
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