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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2004

How to be Happy

Almost everybody in the world wants to be happy. But many people do not know what to do in order to be happy. Some people think that if they become very rich, then they will be happy. Other people think that fancy cars and big houses will make them happy. Many think that fame and popularity will make them happy, or being good at sports. But the truth is, none of those things has the ability to make a person happy. What can make people happy?

Since God created humans, He knows exactly what they need to do in order to be happy. In Matthew 5:3-11, Jesus gave us God's way for humans to be happy. These statements by Jesus are often called the ''beatitudes" (bee-AT-ih-toods). The word beatitude means “supreme blessedness or happiness.” These words by Jesus are called the beatitudes, because they tell us how to be supremely blessed and happy.

When we look at the beatitudes, we see that Jesus does not tell people that money will make them happy. Nor does He say that fame or popularity will make a person happy. In fact, the things Jesus says make people happy are not the things that the world thinks make people happy.

For instance, Jesus said that people who cry in this life are blessed, because one day they will be comforted. He also said that those people who show mercy to others are happy, because God will show mercy to them. Jesus said that those people who ''hunger and thirst for righteousness" will be blessed. What does that mean? It means that those people who look for good things to do to help others will be happy, because they will always have plenty of work to do.

In one of the most interesting beatitudes, Jesus said that you are blessed and happy when other people "revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12). It sounds odd to hear Jesus say that you are happy even though people say bad things about you. But Jesus knew that when a person is obeying Him and doing right, other people who are not doing right will sometimes be mean to those righteous people. When those who are not obeying God speak evil of you for doing right, then you are in good company, because they did the same thing to Jesus and the apostles.

Instead of listening to the world tell us all the wrong ways to find happiness, let's look at the beatitudes to find God's recipe for happiness.

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*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

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