“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (Jas 1:12 NASB)
What is the one thing everyone is wanting in life? Isn’t it to be happy? I’ve heard some saying that God doesn’t care about your happiness. They may even have some good points, but let me say with absolute certainty, He certainly does care if you are happy or not, but it’s the “how” that He cares about the most. It’s achieving happiness God’s way, not ours.
You see, in the world, many are seeking happiness in things like drugs, sex and sensualism, parties, material possessions. You heard the saying, if it feels good, do it. They think if they do these things that make them feel good, they will be happy. But in actual fact, all these things sink them into a deeper hole of depression, after the initial “high,” they find themselves not satisfied. Like a child with a brand new toy, they quickly get bored of it.
So then, how do we become happy? I’ll show you…and yes, I do have the answer, and yes, today, I am truly happy with a lasting joy and peace inside my heart. Now nothing and no-one can take that away…
The above verse, James 1:12, let’s look at it closely. The word “blessed,” and what it actually means…(the same word is used in Matthew 5, the Beatitudes – and God doesn’t care about your happiness?? He repeats it over and over again.)
Original Word: μακάριος, α, ον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Phonetic Spelling: (mak-ar’-ee-os)
Short Definition: happy, blessed
Definition: happy, blessed, to be envied.
3107 makários (from mak-, “become long, large”) – properly, when God extends His benefits (the advantages He confers); blessed.
A prolonged form of the poetical makar (meaning the same); supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off — blessed, happy(X -ier).
So as you can see, the actual word blessed means “happy.” But it also means “to be envied!” Did you know the world is envious of those who are truly happy? They look at rich people and think they are happy, so they try to attain that for themselves, and if, a big IF, they get there, they find they’re still not happy! I remember being in a job for 3 years as a car cleaner. When I left that job and came back to visit a year later, they told me the place was dead without me! Those 3 years I had displayed the joy of the Holy Spirit inside me. I was regularly resisting temptations that all my workmates indulged in, and while they ridiculed me at the time for it, they DID see the difference in me after all! The world will see the difference in you, because of Jesus in you, and living the way He wants you to live, being in the world but not of it!
The word also means “when God extends His benefits (the advantages he confers).”
Now in context with this passage – if you want to know true happiness, if you want to be the envy of those around you, if you want the benefits that God wants to extend to you, there is one thing you need to do – endure trials and temptation!
What blew me away today with this study, is that the world is chasing happiness the complete wrong way! They think giving into their self-indulgences is going to make them happy, but it’s actually the opposite!!! It’s resisting the temptation and fleeing it that will cause a joy to spring up from within you! I mean, doesn’t Peter say to resist the devil and he will flee? The devil causes sorrow and pain, so actually making him flee BY resisting would make you feel the opposite, right? With the devil gone now and Jesus with you, you’re bound to feel much better!!
When I was indulging in the things of the world, it appeared to everyone who followed me on Facebook that I must have been happy. But inside I was so empty. I had money, sex, well-travelled and enjoying the worldly things, wining and dining, but I wasn’t obeying God’s Word, and that made me empty inside. I knew God’s Word prohibited sex outside of marriage, it’s so clear, but I was stubborn! It got to the point where I had to kneel down in surrender to God, because I needed His peace in my life, something I thought I could never have again. Living without His joy in our hearts is not living at all, no matter how much money and worldly things we have in our lives.
Now, the peace and joy is lasting, not the relief you feel while giving into temptation, then afterwards come the feeling of depression. Christians who are depressed – it’s an oxymoron. With God’s peace in your life, you CANNOT be depressed. Depression is a spirit you have allowed into your life through living worldly. It;s that simple. Spend time with Jesus, resist the flesh and His peace will come into your heart and you’ll be delivered from depression. It actually IS that simple. While I was in the world, I felt depressed, but I was never going to a doctor ever for meds, I knew in my heart the solution was obeying God’s Word, and allowing Him to rule and reign in my heart again. Pills make it worse!
Now, being “blessed” and happy according to this passage is almost like a short term motivation. Yes, resist temptation, and it’s like it says, you WILL be blessed, the fruit of joy will come into your life. However, there’s more to this verse, and applying it will keep you blessed!
Now in this passage, James gives another key in enduring temptation, which is keeping your eyes on a future goal, in this instance it is “receiving the crown of life” (the victor’s crown, properly translated), and then the true motivating factor for enduring temptation is the love of God. He says next that if we endure trials, we will “receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Now that word love in the greek is agapao, meaning to love. (Strong’s greek 25) The Helps Word studies puts it like this; “properly, to prefer, to love; for the believer, preferring to “live through Christ” (1 Jn 4:9,10), i.e. embracing God’s will (choosing His choices) and obeying them through His power. 25 (agapáō) preeminently refers to what God prefers as He “is love””
This definition is amazing! I love God’s Word! So now, loving God is not just a feeling of affection you have in your heart. When you are under trials and temptations, you are NOT going to feel all this love and affection in your heart toward God, you will be under pressure. Loving God is put to action through “preferring to live through Christ, embracing God’s Will – CHOOSING HIS CHOICES – and obeying them through HIS power!
I love that! If we love God, we will choose His choices, embrace His will, as Jesus embraced the Father’s will when He went to the cross, saying “not mine, by Thy will be done!” He demonstrated He loved God!
So 3 ways to be happy?
- Remember what “blessed” actually means and the fruit of resisting temptation is – joy and lasting peace and happiness. Remember also the feeling you get, how depressed you get when you give in and indulge the flesh – well it’s opposite when you resist and do what God wants, He rewards with joy!
- Focus on the goal of receiving the victor’s crown of life. The Bible says “without a vision the people perish.” (Prov 29:18)
- Learn what it really means to love God – embrace His will not your own, choose His choices above your own. And choose it with His power, not yours.
The Bible also says that “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) There is no such thing as a weak Christian – only one who doesn’t have the correct “knowledge.” Ginosko! If we know these truths and apply them, there is nothing that can hinder our walk with God, absolutely nothing. And also remember that God doesn’t put anything in our path that is too hard for us, but He will make a way of escape each and every time. (1 Cor 10:13)