The modern-day hashtag (#) surfaced in August 2007 on Twitter. Since then it has grown in use and is now a staple on Instagram and Facebook. These hashtags are a way of arranging discussions/posts so they are easily searchable.
Some of the most popular hashtags are #love, #photooftheday, and #happy. For the last few years, #blessed has been used and abused to describe a favourite outfit, vacation destination or extravagant meal.
I think that is what almost everyone wants. Blessings that fulfill our every dream, desire and longing.
But is this what it means to be blessed?
Not according to Jesus.
In Matthew 5 we read some of the most famous, and difficult, teachings of Jesus. In the Beatitudes (the “Blessings”), Jesus describes what a happy life really looks like.
And it’s not what Instagram stars or celebrity preachers might make it out to be.
Know Your Condition
The first quality of a happy person is to be “poor in spirit.” Wow. If Jesus was trying to start a marketing campaign for his teaching, he was doing a pretty lousy job. Poor in spirit just doesn’t draw us in, especially in 2019. But Jesus knew what he was talking about, and he still does today.
If we want to live happily, we must start at the bottom. We’ve got to know about our condition. We don’t have it all together, aren’t self-sufficient, and were never intended to do life apart from God. To those who think they can make their way to God on their own steam (the religious), Jesus responds, ‘Become like a child, that’s how you get into my Kingdom” (Matthew 18:3).
Kids know when they need help. They ask for help all the time. That is a key to happiness. Know your need for Jesus, and ask for his help. And he will help.
The second quality of happy people is that they know how to mourn. Once again, not exactly the kind of message anyone would expect in a sermon about happiness!
Know the Good News
This mourning is deep grief over our brokenness and sin. The Good News of Jesus is only good when we know how bad the situation was for us.
Romans 3:23 reminds us that “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”
All. Everyone. No exclusions. No matter how nice, good or generous we have been, we still don’t measure up.
But Jesus offers forgiveness. He offers freedom.
People who mourn over their brokenness and understand their need for a Saviour should be the most forgiving people around.
Life is pretty good we are forgiven, learn to forgive ourselves, and forgive others who have hurt us.