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Different people have different ideas about what would make them happy. Unfortunately, most people find that their pursuit of happiness does not lead them where they want to go -- they discover after a while that the things they've been pursuing aren't really the things that provide true happiness. The Christian, however, ought to realize that the best things in life are the things that make us more like God. To the extent that we begin to conform ourselves to the mind of God, we will find life getting better.
It is an interesting fact that many of the things we would define as "good" because they draw us closer to God are those that the world would define as "bad." For example, difficulty and pain can have a beneficial spiritual effect on us, but to say that these things are good is to say the opposite of what the world would say. James wrote, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness" (Jas. 1:2,3). Seeing things from God's perspective often causes us to "evaluate" things quite differently.
The "blessed" person, according to Jesus' description in the Beatitudes in Mt. 5:1-12, is not blessed because of his bank account, his importance in life, or his power over other people. He is blessed because he is a certain kind of person. He seeks to think and act as God would think and act. The blessedness of those in Christ's kingdom is a blessedness that comes from within the heart, and it has little to do with what is going on in the externals of a person's life. In fact, a person who enjoys the blessedness of godly character can say, "I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content" (Phil. 4:11).
This week, let's strive for a keener sense of what is most important in life: investing in character growth, rather than accumulating the paraphernalia the world considers essential for the good life. Let's try to set a better example for our children, showing them (by our deeds as well as our words) that our priorities are straight and that we are wanting, above all, to be the kind of people on the inside that please God and receive His blessings. Let's live as those who understand what the truly "good life" is.
Monday: John 17:1-5
Key Idea: Eternal life means coming to "know" God.
Questions for Family Growth: What is "eternal life"? What did Jesus say about it in v.3? Is knowing a lot about the Bible all that is involved in knowing God? In Jas. 2:20-24, why was Abraham called "the friend of God"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:12.
Tuesday: 2 Peter 1:3,4
Key Idea: God will help us to become partakers of His own "nature."
Questions for Family Growth: In v.4, what does the gospel make it possible for us to escape from? In v.3, what does Peter say God's power has granted to us? What do you think it means to be "partakers of the divine nature" (v.4)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:13.
Wednesday: Romans 12:1,2
Key Idea: To please God and be happy we must learn to think differently from the world.
Questions for Family Growth: What should we present to God as a "living sacrifice"? What does it mean that this is our "reasonable service" (NKJV)? Instead of being "conformed" to this world, what should we be?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:14.
Thursday: Philippians 2:1-11
Key Idea: We should strive to think as Christ thought.
Questions for Family Growth: What are some of the attitudes mentioned in vv.1-4? What does it mean "let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus" (v.5 NKJV)? In practical terms, how do we go about doing that?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:15.
Friday: Matthew 5:1-12
Key Idea: We are "blessed" if we adopt the character qualities taught by Jesus.
Questions for Family Growth: Name the different characteristics Jesus said will make us "blessed." What does it mean to be "blessed"? How are these characteristics different from those that are prevalent in the world?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 18:16.