I pondered that for quite a while. There are quite a few things that I enjoy and appreciate. “Falling into” a great story, whether I am reading, writing, or watching it brings me great delight. Spending time with people I cherish is like oxygen to me. Learning and/or teaching is an intense pleasure. Circumstances, people, things are just stuff. And yet, none of those things can MAKE me happy. They may reveal a happiness or contentment (or lack thereof), but they can never place happiness within me.
Only God Himself can make me happy. As He rebuilds me from the inside out, preparing me for eternity, He places a peace beyond all understanding within me. He builds contentment and joy into my person.
The tools He uses are surprisingly simple. It starts and ends with His Word. Whether I like it or not, I need to let the Holy Spirit work through Scripture. Both Law and Gospel have to have their constant place in my life: God’s Holy Law has to tear down my pride and self-sufficient attitude and God’s Holy Gospel is to build Christ Himself within me.
That can’t happen quickly or easily. There’s a reason we are to gather together around preaching and the sacraments regularly. Having the pastor place forgiveness in our ears and on our tongues is a start. Unfortunately, we also have the attention spans of squirrels on crack. We can’t go 3 minutes within the service without getting distracted. That’s why daily, family and individual Bible study and devotions are important. We need to have the weekly church service lessons reinforced at any given moment.
We never know when life will place a “pop quiz” in front of us. God’s Word makes us joyfully free to live forgiven lives while forgiving others around us.
THIS makes me happy!