HAPPY NEW YEAR! As another year goes by and a new one comes, everyone wishes this to each other.. So do I..

Think about the past year.. At its beginning, each of us got this message hundreds of times. But was the whole past year happy for us?  Several situations were there that made us sad, depressed, doubtful and even fearful… Can this new year be free from all those unhappy situations? Would we be happy through out the new year?  The unfortunate truth is that, the situations that made us unhappy last year will most likely happen in this year as well.. However, as a child of God, the choice to make ourselves Happy through out the year regardless of those adverse situations is ours and ours only! Can one be happy 24/7 and 365 days an year? To answer that, one needs to know the definition of Happiness. Happiness is not just being cheerful always.. The true meaning of being Happy is “being contented” or “being in good spirit”. Even when something is not right in lives, if we can find the hope beyond the situation that troubles us and know that there is goodness behind that, we can consider ourselves happy. Romans 8: 28 says

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

This is what makes us Happy through the unhappy situations.. Based on the text of New King James Version of the Bible, God made me think about 10 simple steps for being in good spirit or to find satisfaction. The 1st nine steps are based on the relation to the God and the tenth one is the result of the 1st nine.

1.    Be saved by the LORD – Deuteronomy 33:29

Happy are you, O Israel!
Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,
The shield of your help
And the sword of your majesty!
Your enemies shall submit to you,
And you shall tread down their high places.

One of the major cause of worry in life is the guilt of sin. By the blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary, our sins are forgiven forever and we no longer have to carry the burden of the disobedience. Being saved is as easy as believing in the LORD Jesus Christ and his plan of salvation for us. Of course, the pre-requisite for that, is to know and admit that we are sinners by nature and we cannot do anything else to get free from the sin.

Being Saved gives us the ultimate hope that last forever – To be with God in Heaven for the eternal life (1 Peter 5:10). The assurance of our salvation keeps our spirit happy because we know that even when we walk through the valley of Death, the comforting God is always with us (Psalms 23:4-6). When we compare the sufferings in our short life in this world with the riches of Glory that we soon will attain (Romans 8:18) we certainly can rejoice in hope during our tribulations here (Romans 12:12 )

2.    Be corrected by the LORD – Job 5:17

Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects;
Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty

It is our privilege to have God as our Father. (Romans 8:15). We do have all the rights and the divine inheritance from God. At the same time, we should be happy to have be disciplined by God. There are times in our life in the coming year that certain adversities remind us to correct our path with the God. Let us pray to God that we have the divine wisdom to recognize those unhappy times and get ourselves corrected to make ourselves happy again.  (Proverbs 3:11-12 )

3.    Have the true God as the LORD – Psalm 144:15

Happy are the people who are in such a state;
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

It is so wonderful that we serve the ONE and ONLY God. (1 Corinthians 8:6) – Not one among many, but just THE ONE. (Isaiah 43:10-11, Isaiah 44:6 ) – Besides that we have a personal relation with God (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). For the same reason, we are on higher ground and have the advantage over the troubles of our life.

4.    Gain the true Wisdom of the LORD – Proverbs 3:13

Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;

What is the wisdom and Understanding mentioned in this verse? We can see the answer in Proverbs 9:10 – It is the fear of the God and Knowledge about God. 1 Corinthians 3:19 says that the wisdom of the World is foolishness to God. We have to grow in the understanding about our God. How do we do that? From the word of God (Psalm 119:66) and it cannot be attained by human efforts as it is a gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8). So one can find true happiness in seeking the knowledge about God.

5.    Hope in the LORD – Psalm 146:5

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God

Nothing in our life comes by chance. Everything happens according to the divine plan of God and that plan is always good for us. (Jeremiah 29:11 ). Proverbs 10:28 says Hope of the righteous bring Joy. Even in the adverse conditions, if our true Hope is the LORD, we will be happy because the ONE with us is mightier than anything and everything (Isaiah 40:31, Deuteronomy 31:6).

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

It clearly says that there are times that our strength needs to be renewed.. There are times that we can be weary or feels like fainting.. But just wait on the LORD and we will be happy because it is the ALMIGHTY who strengthens us and that strength is more than enough to mount up like Eagles.

6.    Trust in the LORD – Proverbs 16:20

He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he

The words ‘Hope’ and ‘Trust’ are sometimes used synonymously but there is a fine difference in them.  While ‘Hope’ is waiting for something that we wish for, ‘Trust’ is Hope backed up with prior evidence or knowledge. (Proverbs 3:5) – Hope may not drive away the inner fear of uncertainty while Trust makes one brave (Psalm 56:3-4) – Happiness may be an after-effect of Hope, but in Trust, happiness is never lost in the troubles we face. (Psalm 13:5, Psalm 33:21) In other words, when we trust the LORD with our full heart, we will be able to rejoice even during the tribulations we face in our life.. (Isaiah 26:3-4) – Trust in the LORD drives away the fear from our hearts (Psalm 112:7)

7.    Keeps the Law of the LORD – Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
But happy is he who keeps the law.

Obeying the word of God will make a person transformed (Romans 12:2) and enable him to discern which is right and which is wrong. This knowledge brings about the ultimate peace in our lives which makes us truly Happy. The word of God brings about thankfulness in our Heart which is the result of perfect satisfaction (Colossians 3:16). The word of God is sanctifies us (John 17:17), keeps us away from evil (1 John 2:14), brings respect (Psalms 119:6, 31,46, 98-100) counsels us and shields us (Psalms 119:14, 24, 50, 52, 105, 130) thus brings us joy

Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction. – Psalms 119:92

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble. – Psalms 119: 165

8.    Be Reverent to the LORD – Proverbs 28:14

Happy is the man who is always reverent,
But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Being reverent to God means Fear of the LORD which is often interpreted as Fear with which God is to be regarded. The more accurate meaning would be fear to do evil considering the holiness of God. This makes more sense since there is no Fear in perfect love (1 John 4:18) and we love God with a perfect love.  We have to be Holy as our God is Holy (1 Peter 1:14-16) – Usually fear and happiness does not go along. One who is afraid cannot be happy. However, being fearful to do sin will cause us to be extra cautious not to commit Sin which in turn causes unhappiness. (Hebrews 12:15 , 2 Timothy 2:21 )

9.   Witness for the LORD – Acts 26:2 

I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews

In this passage, we can see the Paul is happy to witness the LORD even during the terrible tribulation he faces. We have to become a living testimony for others.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. –  Matthew 5:16

10.  Be Merciful to MEN – Proverbs 14:21

He who despises his neighbor sins;
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Love of God bears the love towards fellow beings.  It is by loving others that we testify that we are children of God (John 13:35). Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13: 6-7) which brings about joy and peace in all stages of life.

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