While on the recent 60+ Ministry trip to Gatlinburg, TN, my wife, Lynne, and I walked downtown to the shopping district. While Lynne visited the stores that are designed to separate a woman from her money, I did what any real man would do: I sat outside the stores on benches and rockers and kept her diet coke secure.
At one store she took longer than even 40 years of history together seemed to warrant, so I checked my “man card” at the door and went inside to see if she was okay. Once I verified that she was still alive (“I’ve hit a jackpot” were her actual words of verification), as I started out of the store the placards section caught my attention. Looking around to see if any man sitting outside was watching me, I paused for a minute to see what was new in the arena of homespun wisdom. One placard in particular caught my attention. It said, "Don't put the keys to your happiness in someone else's pocket.
Don’t put the keys to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.
As I made my way back to the rockers outside the store, I couldn't get that phrase out of my mind. As I quickly evaluated my life I realized that many times I have put the keys to my happiness in someone else’s pocket by letting how they treated me determine what did and did not make me happy instead of taking charge of my own happiness.
And that’s when the Holy Spirit took charge of my thoughts. In effect He said, “Jerry, if you want to take charge of your own happiness, live your life by the Beatitudes.” Remembering that the word “blessed” also means “happy”, this is what I concluded.
If you want to take charge of your own happiness, live your life by the Beatitudes.
Instead of my happiness being dependent upon the accumulation of things or upon the way others treat me, I should take control of my happiness...
...as I acknowledge my need for Christ,
...as I experience God’s comfort in the midst of life’s sorrows,
...as I humbly walk through life minus an entitlement mindset,
...as I hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness rather than for the thrill of sin,
...as I bestow mercy rather than judgment,
...as I seek to live a pure life and live at peace with others, and
...as I endure hardships with perseverance fueled by my faith.
Want to keep the keys to your own happiness in your own pockets?
Beatitude living is a great way to start.
This article appeared in the October issue of Silver Lines, a monthly newsletter produced by the 60+ Ministry of Shandon Baptist Church.
Photo credit: © Jirsak | istockphoto.com