September 15, 2017
By Skip Heitzig
If you were to stop somebody on the street and ask them, "What do you really want out of life?" I think they would probably say, "I want to be happy." Happiness is an elusive thing. Everybody has some idea of what would bring them happiness, whether it's owning something, making more money, or marrying a certain person (or having not married a certain person).
Did you know God has a lot to say about happiness? First and foremost, happiness is never found by direct pursuit; it's a by-product of pursuing God and His holiness (see Matthew 6:33). Psalm 1 gives us a good description of the person who's happy in this way—or blessed, as the psalmist put it.
First of all, this happy person is described by what they decline:"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful" (v. 1). In other words, they follow no bad advice, make no bad associations, and carry out no bad actions, being careful about who they let in their life (see 1 Corinthians 15:33).
The happy person is also described by what they delight in: "His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (v. 2). Now, why is this? Because this Book is the means toward an end, and that end is an encounter with the living God. Notice the word meditate. It comes from a Hebrew word that refers to the low moaning of an animal, especially when it chews its cud. The idea, then, is to slowly and meditatively feed on the Scripture, letting it define your actions.
The happy person is also described by what they depict: "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water" (v. 3)—not a stump of a tree or a twig lying on the ground, but something alive, growing, flourishing, and permanent. Picture a tree with its roots going down deep into the soil, deriving nutrients and anchoring itself to the landscape.
And what's the natural outpouring of this anchoring? It "brings forth its fruit in its season, [and its] leaf also shall not wither" (v. 3). It takes time to grow, but growth brings fruit—spiritual activity, refreshment, and blessing. And when somebody is aligned with and connected to God in this way, everything they seem to touch becomes blessed: "Whatever he does shall prosper" (v. 3).
Finally, the happy person is described by how they differ from the ungodly: "The ungodly…are like the chaff which the wind drives away" (v. 4). Chaff is the husk of the wheat—the stuff that's blown away by the wind. In the end, you're either a growing, living, fruitful tree or a pile of dead chaff. Which one describes you? Which one do you want to be?
If you're feeling particularly parched today, take some time to get back to the source of your roots. Whether it's on your lunch break or as you're winding down for the night, get with God sometime today and slowly read through all of Psalm 1, asking Him to establish you once again in Jesus Christ, the fountain of living waters and source of true happiness.
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