How to have a Happy New Year

Happy-New-Years-2015Most people will look for happiness in 2015 in their circumstances (jobs, possessions, health, entertainment, sports) or in their relationships (boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, children, or friends) only to discover that things and people change.

I read a tragic, brief story in the New York Times this week about Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who killed two NY police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, before shooting himself on December 20. The article summarized the killer’s life this way, “Mr. Brinsley’s short life was a series of disappointments.”

Thankfully, not everyone lives and dies so horrifically. As poet Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Everyone seems to be seeking happiness, but few seem to ever find it.

God’s Word, however, promises true happiness to all who follow what it says (see Happily Ever After).  Knowing God through His Word and following Him everyday is the best way to have a Happy New Year.

“How happy is the man… (whose) delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he (who) meditates on it day and night.” Psalm 1:1-3

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offered a plan for happiness that was entirely at odds with this world’s perspective.

“The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Those who mourn are blessed,  for they will be comforted. The gentle are blessed,  for they will inherit the earth. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled. The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy. The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God. The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called sons of God. Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3-11

Nine different times Jesus uses the word, “blessed,” which roughly translates to “happy, blissful, joyful, ecstatic.” True happiness is found in Jesus and living for His kingdom values and His righteousness that are often considered worthless or old fashioned in this world.

On the night that He would go on to be betrayed by His friend Judas, and then die in the place of those He came to save (i.e. the world), Jesus said, “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (John 15:10). Jesus is calling you and me to follow Him, to know Him, and to allow His words and His life and His Spirit to transform us. The only way to survive in a world that tries to slowly poison our minds is to renew our minds each day (Romans 12:1-2). By allowing God’s Word to refresh and transform you, day by day, you’ll be — happy.

So start off 2015 (and then finish it, too) by spending every day reading the Bible. Every Day BibleThis year, I’m using the “Every Day Bible” from Logos Bible Software/Faithlife. You can download the app from iTunes or get it on Google Play, then select what sections of Scripture you want to read (OT, NT, Poetry). If you would prefer a hard copy,  download and print out a PDF file or pick up a copy in the literature rack near the church offices at PlanoBibleChapel.

Follow me… as I follow Jesus Christ.

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