“Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!”—PSALM 144:15.
1. Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses a happy people? (See opening picture.)
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES are a happy people. Whenever they are together, whether at a meeting, an assembly, or a social gathering, they are talking and laughing with one another. Why are they so happy? It is mainly because they know Jehovah, “the happy God.” They serve him and try to imitate him. (1 Timothy 1:11; Psalm 16:11) Jehovah is the Source of happiness, so he wants us to be happy, and he gives us many reasons to be joyful.—Deuteronomy 12:7; Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13.
2, 3. (a) What does it mean to be happy? (b) Why may it be difficult to be happy?
2 What about you? Are you happy? To be happy means to feel good, to be content with your life or very joyful. The Bible shows that those who are blessed by Jehovah can be truly happy. But then why may it be difficult to be happy in today’s world?
3 It can be difficult to be happy when we experience stressful situations, such as when someone we love dies or is disfellowshipped, when our marriage ends in divorce, or when we lose our job. It can also be difficult to be happy when there is no peace at home because of constant fighting, when our workmates or classmates mock us, or when we are persecuted or put in prison because we serve Jehovah. Or our health may deteriorate, we may develop a chronic illness, or we may suffer from depression. But remember that Jesus Christ, “the happy and only Potentate,” or Ruler, loved to comfort people and to make them happy. (1 Timothy 6:15; Matthew 11:28-30) In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentioned some qualities that can help us to be happy even when we have many problems because we are living in Satan’s world.
WE CANNOT BE HAPPY WITHOUT JEHOVAH
4, 5. What can we do to be happy and stay happy?
4 The first thing that Jesus mentioned is especially important. He said: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.” (Matthew 5:3) If we are conscious of our spiritual need, we recognize that we need to know God and that we need his help and direction. How do we show that? By studying the Bible, obeying God, and making his worship the most important thing in our life. Doing these things will help us to be happy. Our faith that God’s promises will soon come true will be stronger. And “the happy hope” that we find in the Bible will encourage us.—Titus 2:13.
5 If we want to be happy no matter what happens in our life, we must continue strengthening our friendship with Jehovah. The apostle Paul wrote: “Always rejoice in the Lord. Again I will say, Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) To be a close friend of Jehovah, we need to have divine wisdom. God’s Word says: “Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who acquires discernment. It is a tree of life to those who take hold of it, and those who keep firm hold of it will be called happy.”—Proverbs 3:13, 18.
For us to stay happy, it is very important that we continue to apply what we learn
6. What else must we do to stay happy?
6 But for us to stay happy, it is very important that we continue to apply what we learn from the Bible. Jesus emphasized how important this is when he said: “If you know these things, happy you are if you do them.” (John 13:17; read James 1:25.) This is essential if we want to satisfy our spiritual need and stay happy. But how can we be happy when there are so many things that can take our happiness away? Let us see what Jesus said next in the Sermon on the Mount.
QUALITIES THAT MAKE US HAPPY
7. How can those who mourn be happy?
7 “Happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) We might wonder, ‘How can those who mourn be happy?’ Jesus was not talking about everybody who mourns. Many wicked people mourn, or are sad, because they experience distressing problems in these “last days” that are so “hard to deal with.” (2 Timothy 3:1) But they are thinking only about themselves and not about Jehovah, so they do not develop a friendship with him, and they cannot be happy. Jesus was talking about those who are conscious of their spiritual need. They mourn because they see that so many people have rejected God or are not living the way God wants. They also recognize that they are sinful, and they see the terrible things happening in this world. Jehovah notices those who sincerely mourn, comforts them through his Word, and gives them happiness and life.—Read Ezekiel 5:11; 9:4.
8. How can being mild-tempered help you to be happy?
8 “Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) How can being mild-tempered help you to be happy? Many people are rude and aggressive, which can lead to many problems. But when they learn the truth, they change and put on “the new personality.” Now they show “the tender affections of compassion, kindness, humility, mildness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:9-12) As a result, they have peace, they have good relationships with others, and they are happy. Also, God’s Word promises that they will “inherit the earth.”—Psalm 37:8-10, 29.
9. (a) What did Jesus mean when he said that the mild-tempered will “inherit the earth”? (b) Why can “those hungering and thirsting for righteousness” be happy?
9 What did Jesus mean when he said that the mild-tempered will “inherit the earth”? The anointed will inherit the earth when they rule over it as kings and priests. (Revelation 20:6) Millions of others who do not have the heavenly hope will inherit the earth when they are allowed to live forever on it. They will be perfect and will have peace and happiness. These people are also the ones of whom Jesus said: “Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness.” (Matthew 5:6) Their desire for righteousness will be satisfied when Jehovah removes all wickedness. (2 Peter 3:13) In the new world, righteous people will be happy and will never again mourn because of the bad things wicked people do.—Psalm 37:17.
10. What does it mean to be merciful?
10 “Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) To be merciful means to be warm, tender, and compassionate, that is, to feel pity for those who suffer. However, mercy is more than a tender feeling. The Bible teaches that being merciful includes doing something to help others.
11. What does the illustration of the neighborly Samaritan teach us?
11 Read Luke 10:30-37. Jesus’ illustration of the neighborly Samaritan paints a beautiful picture of what it means to be merciful. The Samaritan felt compassion and pity for the man who was suffering, and this moved him to help the man. After Jesus gave that illustration, he said: “Go and do the same yourself.” So we may ask ourselves: ‘Am I doing the same? Am I doing what the neighborly Samaritan did? When others suffer, can I do something to help them? For example, can I help older ones in the congregation, widows, or children whose parents do not serve Jehovah? Can I “speak consolingly to those who are depressed” to comfort them?’—1 Thessalonians 5:14; James 1:27.
12. Why are we happy when we are merciful?
12 Why are we happy when we are merciful? When we show mercy to others, we are giving, and Jesus said that giving makes us happy. Another reason is that we know we are pleasing Jehovah. (Acts 20:35; read Hebrews 13:16.) King David said about the one who shows mercy: “Jehovah will guard him and keep him alive. He will be pronounced happy in the earth.” (Psalm 41:1, 2) If we show mercy and compassion toward others, we will also receive Jehovah’s mercy and we can be happy forever.—James 2:13.
WHY “THE PURE IN HEART” ARE HAPPY
13, 14. Why is it important to be “pure in heart”?
13 Jesus said: “Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8) To be pure in heart, we have to keep our thoughts and desires pure, or clean. This is very important if we want Jehovah to accept our worship.—Read 2 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Timothy 1:5.
14 Those who are pure in heart can have a good relationship with Jehovah, who said: “Happy are those who wash their robes.” (Revelation 22:14) What does it mean that they “wash their robes”? For anointed Christians, it means that Jehovah views them as clean, he will give them immortal life in heaven, and they will be happy forever. For the great crowd, who hope to live on earth, it means that Jehovah allows them to be his friends because he views them as righteous. The Bible says that “they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”—Revelation 7:9, 13, 14.
15, 16. How can the pure in heart “see God”?
15 Jehovah said: “No man can see me and live.” (Exodus 33:20) How, then, can the pure in heart “see God”? The Greek word that is translated “see” can mean to imagine, to understand, or to know. So to “see God” means to understand the kind of Person he is and to love his qualities. (Ephesians 1:18) Jesus imitated God’s qualities perfectly, so he could say: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also.”—John 14:7-9.
16 In addition, we “see God” when we experience how he helps us in our life. (Job 42:5) We can also “see,” or focus on, the wonderful things Jehovah promises to do for those who stay pure and serve him loyally. And the anointed will literally see Jehovah when they are resurrected and go to heaven.—1 John 3:2.
WE CAN BE HAPPY EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE PROBLEMS
17. Why are the peacemakers happy?
17 Jesus next said: “Happy are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) When we take the initiative to make peace with others, we can be happy. The disciple James wrote: “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peaceful conditions for those who are making peace.” (James 3:18) So if you are struggling to get along with someone in your congregation or in your family, beg Jehovah to help you be a peacemaker. Then, Jehovah will give you his holy spirit, which will help you to show Christian qualities, and you will be happier. Jesus emphasized how important it is to take the initiative to make peace when he said: “If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away. First make your peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift.”—Matthew 5:23, 24.
Jehovah’s spirit will help you to show Christian qualities, and you will be happier
18, 19. Why can Christians rejoice even if they are persecuted?
18 “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake.” What did Jesus mean? He added: “Rejoice and be overjoyed, since your reward is great in the heavens, for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.” (Matthew 5:11, 12) When the apostles were beaten and commanded to stop preaching, “they went out from before the Sanhedrin, rejoicing.” Of course, they did not enjoy being beaten. But they were happy “because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored” for Jesus’ name.—Acts 5:41.
19 Today, Jehovah’s people also endure with joy when they are persecuted because of Jesus’ name. (Read James 1:2-4.) Like the apostles, we do not enjoy suffering or being persecuted. But if we remain faithful to Jehovah, he will give us the courage we need to endure. Consider what happened to Henryk Dornik and his brother. In August 1944, they were sent to a concentration camp. Their persecutors said: “It is impossible to persuade them to do anything. Their martyrdom brings them joy.” Henryk explained: “Although I had no desire to be a martyr, suffering with courage and dignity for my loyalty to Jehovah did bring me joy.” He added: “Fervent prayers drew me closer to Jehovah, and he proved to be a reliable Helper.”
20. Why are we happy to serve “the happy God”?
20 When Jehovah, “the happy God,” is pleased with us, we can be happy even if we are persecuted, if our family opposes us, if we get sick, or if we grow old. (1 Timothy 1:11) We can also be happy because our God, “who cannot lie,” has promised us many wonderful things. (Titus 1:2) When Jehovah fulfills his promises, we will not even remember the problems that we have now. In fact, we cannot even imagine how wonderful life will be in Paradise and how happy we will be! Yes, we “will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:11.