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How to Be Deeply Happy

#blessings #kingdom of God #christian living

It was inky dark as we piled into the car after another late weeknight basketball game. As I started home, my youngest two in the backseat started squabbling – again – over the Nintendo DS. We’d long ago outlawed any little handheld computer contraption but some kind soul had handed this one down to my kids and in a moment of weakness I’d allowed it.

Their words escalated as one child felt the DS had been given to her and she wasn’t feeling generous just now. Plus, using it would run the battery down and she claimed she wanted to save it.

Meanwhile, my GPS kept insisting on an incorrect turn and I was struggling to find my way down unfamiliar streets in the pitch blackness. Amid the backseat bickering, I finally reached for the confounded DS and with a string of words meant to correct, proclaimed that no one would use the DS if it couldn’t be shared nicely.

Lying in the bed the next morning, God gently painted a picture of my own hoarding. I also had things I’d been clutching tightly as my own – professional opportunities I wasn’t willing to share with friends and peers.

God prodded me: Whose kingdom are you building?

Ouch. Soul-searing truth I so needed. With a contrite heart and fresh perspective, I openly shared those opportunities with friends and peers.

Whose kingdom am I building? Does my day, my agenda, my time, my motive reveal that I’m building my own kingdom or Christ’s?

Only one will make us happy. This world – and our own flesh – will convince us we need to get more, do more, be more to be happy.  But Jesus teaches we can only be happy when we’re about His kingdom.

The Greek word for happy or blessed is makários and comes from the root to make large or extend. It describes the believer’s not just happy but enviable position when God extends His benefits to us.

We don’t become happy or blessed by enlarging our own kingdom, our own Facebook followers or position or bank account.

In the downside up of God’s kingdom, we learn —

  • It’s the spiritually impoverished who receive the riches of the kingdom.1
  • It’s the humble who are co-heirs to all Christ has.2
  • It’s the famished for true soul food who are filled.3
  • It’s the merciful who know they have received mercy.

Whose kingdom am I building?

When I’m building my own kingdom, I’m competitive.
When I’m building God’s kingdom, I’m cooperative.

When I’m building my own kingdom, I hoard.
When I’m building God’s kingdom, I share.

When I’m building my own kingdom, I need it now.
When I’m building God’s kingdom, I need patience.

When I’m building my own kingdom, people are image-makers.
When I’m building God’s kingdom, people are image-bearers.

When I’m building my own kingdom, my comfort is primary.
When I’m building God’s kingdom, my comfort is secondary.

When I’m building my own kingdom, my burdens are heavy.
When I’m building God’s kingdom, my burdens are His.

When I’m building my own kingdom, it’s about my story.
When I’m building God’s kingdom, it’s about His glory.

Father, today, may we be always, only about Your kingdom. We pray for Your kingdom to come, for Your will to be done in our life, in our home, in our time and hopes and agenda – as it is so perfectly done in heaven.

1. Matthew 5:3
2. Matthew 5:5
3. Matthew 5:6
4. Matthew 5:7

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