We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get out of high school, go to college, get a job, get married, and have a family, or get a raise, get a better job, had a better boss and the list goes on.

The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when?

                         

Your life will always be filled with challenges. It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy now. As I have heard said,  “Praise the Lord anyhow.”

There is no "way to happiness." Happiness is "the way." Jesus said, “Happiness is...” Jesus did not say, Happiness was or Happiness will be but HAPPINESS IS! So, treasure every moment that you have. And remember that time waits for no one. Decide now that there is no better time than right now to be happy.

Patty Hobson said, “Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”   

Many folks think of happiness as if it’s a destination to be reached down there at the end of one of life’s pathways.  The truth is to make sure that you’re on the right pathway.

Matthew 5:1-12 is one of the more familiar passages from the Gospels. They are known as "The Beatitudes" (right attitudes). They are all about this pathway of blessing, this way of happiness. In the Beatitudes, Jesus is dealing with principles which impact every area of our lives.

                               

We live in a world where it's so easy to become callused and indifferent.  We are bombarded daily with news of tragedies, violent acts, and suffering people.   Living sanely in such a world often necessitates developing a certain amount of thick skin. Unfortunately, a thick skin often creates a hard heart. As a result you can find hard hearted, unforgiving people everywhere in our society. Unfortunately, their hardness has made them cynical and bitter.

"The Beatitudes" of Jesus stands against the harshness of our society. Let me ask you the obvious question. Do you find it difficult to follow the teaching of Jesus? I say yes. Sometimes it's tough. We live in a sinful world. Our body and mind sometimes pull us away from God. But we find help and strength in God’s Word.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus is dealing with principles which impact every area of our lives.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit  Blessed are those who mourn  Blessed are the meek Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness Blessed are the merciful Blessed are the pure in heart Blessed are the peacemakers Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake

Jesus is saying that the condition of our heart before God is of first importance. Indeed, it seems to me that our priority as believers is to maintain a right heart attitude toward God.

So when Jesus speaks of the pure in heart He is talking about a heart that is of pure motive. Our hearts should be characterized by single-mindedness and undivided devotion. I believe a good prayer would be, “God give me a heart that longs for you.”

God desires fellowship with us. God desires that we walk Him. And this is the promise to us - it is the result of becoming pure in heart.

The pure in heart are a rare breed in our society today. They are even rare in our churches today. But I believe God is calling us back to that single-minded, unmixed devotion to Him which characterizes those upon whom He pours out His Spirit. But, to live in the Kingdom, the way up is always down. We must fall on our knees in repentance before we can look up to catch a glimpse of His glory. O God, purify our hearts that we may see Jesus!

                             

(Lloyd Blanton is CEO and Director of FreedomWay Ministries, a faith-based service, in Cleburne County.)