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Jesus didn’t call me to be a Christian. He called me to be His disciple. Jesus is my Master. I am learning from Jesus, my teacher.

I will smile even when I am hurting. I will be happy even when I am unhappy. It is called strength! It is called the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus counted it a great joy even when He went to the cross for me.

Jesus did not promise me a rose garden. He did guarantee that if I follow Him, I will have a joy no one can understand. Submission leads to happiness. Obedience leads to delight.

I can smile if I am hurting. I have Jesus. I have His strength. I can be happy in Him. I have Jesus and I have his courage.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Jesus starts out His Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7) this way.

  • Fortunate are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Fortunate are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Fortunate are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
  • Fortunate are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • Fortunate are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
  • Fortunate are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Fortunate are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Digging Deeper – What does it mean to be blessed [happy or fortunate]?

If you want to dig deeper, here are some additional resources. Quite possibly, the most frequently used word in the Christian’s vocabulary is blessed. “Have a blessed day,” “blessed to be a blessing,” and “God bless you” are just a few of the ways we put it to use. It is even common among unbelievers to describe themselves as “blessed.” Some people think of blessed as a spiritual term for “good fortune,” like when we receive something good, the desired outcome, or an exceptional comfort. But what does it really mean to be blessed? While material blessings are certainly included in God’s favor, the Bible ascribes a much fuller meaning to the word blessed.

New Strong’s Dictionary

μακάριος makariŏs, mak-ar´-ee-os; a prol. form of the poet.  μάκαρ makar (mean. the same); supremely blest; by extens. fortunate, well off:— blessed, happy (× -ier).[1]

Louw-Nida

μακάριος, α, ον: pertaining to being happy, with the implication of enjoying favorable circumstances—‘happy.’ μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται ‘happy are those who show mercy, for God will be merciful to them’ Mt 5:7. This passive construction in Greek (ἐλεηθήσονται) is generally regarded as a so-called ‘passive of avoidance,’ that is to say, the use of a passive form in order to avoid a direct reference to God.[2]

Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology

To be “blessed” is to be happy in a very full and rich sense. Often Scripture talks about the blessedness of those people who walk in God’s ways. Yet in 1 Timothy Paul calls God “the blessed and only Sovereign” (1 Tim. 6:15) and speaks of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11). In both instances the word is not eulogētos (which is often translated “blessed”) but makarios (which means “happy”).

Thus God’s blessedness may be defined as follows: God’s blessedness means that God delights fully in himself and in all that reflects his character. In this definition the idea of God’s happiness or blessedness is connected directly to his own person as the focus of all that is worthy of joy or delight. This definition indicates that God is perfectly happy, that he has fullness of joy in himself.

The definition reflects the fact that God takes pleasure in everything in creation that mirrors his excellence. When he finished his work of creation, he looked at everything that he had made and saw that it was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). This indicates God’s delight in and approval of his creation. Then in Isaiah we read a promise of God’s future rejoicing over his people: “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isa. 62:5; cf. Prov. 8:30–31; Zeph. 3:17).[3]

Holman Treasury of Key Words

The “pursuit of happiness” is so central to human drives that it has even been written into a nation’s constitution as one of the goals of its citizens. It is one of the things discussed in any good beginning philosophy course in college. It is also something that is mentioned often in the book of Psalms and elsewhere in both the Old and New Testament. ʾEsher, the word translated “happy” (kjv, nlt), can also be translated as “blessed.” These two felicitous states of human beings are intimately laced together. They are at times impossible to differentiate in some biblical passages; by definition, the Lord blesses the happy person and the person blessed by the Lord is happy. The word ʾesher is used only in the plural form in the Old Testament. The noun comes from an original root, ʾshr, meaning “to go straight or advance.” So the blessedness and happiness of the person of God is one who advances in understanding and in the ways of God, turning neither to the right or the left. In some cases, ʾesher also means to “be led on” (Isa. 9:15). The happiness or blessedness of the people of God is tied to God leading them forward. Happy is the person who does not live according to the counsel of the ungodly (Ps. 1:1), for God approves of his ways and makes him happy. The book of Psalms notes many reasons why the “blessed” man is indeed blessed and happy. Happiness belongs to those who: take refuge in the Lord (Ps. 2:12), have their sins forgiven (Ps. 32:1), live in a nation whose God is the Lord (Ps. 33:12), have righteous parents (Ps. 37:25–26), have regard for the poor (Ps. 41:1), have a wise king as their ruler (Ps. 84:4), trust in the Lord (Ps. 84:12), and fear the Lord (Ps. 112:1). This is only a partial list of who is happy and why, but in every case it is the Lord who is the ultimate cause and source of happiness.

Jesus’ words in the beatitudes echo and reflect these Old Testament concepts. He says: happy or “blessed” are the peacemakers, the pure in heart, the merciful, and those persecuted for His name (Matt. 5:3–16; makarios in Greek). Jesus’ words remind us that the truly blessed in this world are those who believe in Him (John 20:29). Blessings and real happiness are not and cannot be found in the things of this world, for they are merely gifts from God and come from His hand.[4]

International Standard Bible Dictionary

BLESSED, blesʹed (בָּרוּךְ, bārūkh): Where God is referred to, this word has the sense of “praise,” as in 1 S 25:32, “Blessed be Jeh, the God of Israel.” But where man is in mind it is used in the sense of “happy” or “favored,” and most frequently so in the Psalms and the Gospels, as for example, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked” (Ps 1:1); “Blessed art thou among women” (Lk 1:42); “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Mt 5:3).[5]

[1] Strong, J. (1996). The New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 301). New York: United Bible Societies.

[3] Grudem, W. (2020). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Second Edition, pp. 260–261). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.

[4] Carpenter, E. E., & Comfort, P. W. (2000). In Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained (p. 79). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Orr, J., Nuelsen, J. L., Mullins, E. Y., & Evans, M. O. (Eds.). (1915). Blessed. In The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 487). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.