January 20th - Happy
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her. Proverbs 3:13-18 (NKJV)
The United States Declaration of Independence states that everyone should have access to, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Sounds great…really great! It is a shame that you can’t go down to the corner market and purchase a map that details the journey to arrive at happiness, or a simple compass that points in the right direction. The idea of chasing after happiness has some merit; but, if a person has no idea where to “find” happiness, it is about as effective as chasing the mythical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. What I see in the real world is the vast majority of people engaging in some incredibly self-destructive behavior in a vain pursuit of happiness.
There is an ancient Book, the Bible, that reveals the direction for those who would like to “find” happiness in this life. The Proverb states: "Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding." That is one powerful claim, but, is it true? Are the people who live according to
God's wisdom appreciably happier than those who live life according to their own natural desires? The answer is a resounding, “Yes;” However, there are many people who are religious or dabble in Christianity, but do not live in accordance with God’s wisdom. Please note, a duplicitous heart is an inoculation against happiness.
I have lived long enough to know this: None of the regrets that I have in this life are associated with walking in God’s wisdom. “No,” my regrets are all from self-inflicted wounds when I did things “My Way.” (For the record—Frank Sinatra’s hit, “My Way,” is a ridiculously foolish song)
I remember well a conversation that I had with my mother years ago when I was know-it-all teenager. She told me to live life in light of the legacy that I would be establishing. In other words--what would be the fruit of my life when I come to the end? Did my life make a difference? Did I encourage and help others? Would my children and grandchildren want to follow in my footsteps? Did my life bring glory to God or did I just live for myself? I took my mother's advice--and some would say that I've missed out. But, what did I really miss? No one night stands--no DUI's--no hangovers--no messed-up children--no divorces... I must stress that I have not lived a perfect life, but I have fully embraced the idea that living according to God's wisdom does indeed lead to a better life and an exponentially superior legacy. (It is not even close) To live a life that has very few regrets is the life of a happy man.
Author’s Note: None of us are perfect—not even close. We all collectively need the same thing to help us in this life. We need a Savior. We need grace, mercy and forgiveness. Beyond that, we need instruction and wisdom in order to make sense of life while living in a confused world. I personally cherish the wisdom expressed in God’s Word. It is helpful, life-changing, and a necessary ingredient in my pursuit of true happiness. RJD