12 Things Happy People Do Differently

12 Things Happy People Do Differently December 9, 2011

This sort of article is a classic example of how the seeds of the word are already present in a lot of popular culture. Much of it rehashes counsel that comes to us from the New Testament: be thankful, live in hope, don’t enviously compare yourself with others, be kind, love your neighbor, learn patience, forgive. It gets a bit New Agey when we start being counseled to “increase flow experiences” (which, I *think* translates into Christianese as “do the things God gifted you to do and you will find pleasure in it”).

But the main thing is: stuff like this is all over in our culture and it is emphatically a “glass half full” opportunity for Christians if we will only see it as such and not just wave it off in disgust as insufficiently pure, orthodox, and glass half empty. Not a few Christians forget that there’s nothing wrong with desiring happiness. It’s not “shallow” to do so. Indeed, Jesus inaugurated his ministry precisely with an appeal to those who want–as we are all built by God to want–happiness. The beatitudes are, in fact, a prescription for achieving happiness. So when the author of an article like this speaks, our first response should not be, “Great! Another New Age dimwit with a health and wealth plan for a comfy life.” It should be, “You’re on the right track. Jesus says much the same thing. Let me explain to you the way of happiness (also known as “salvation”) more thoroughly. That’s what Priscilla and Aquila did with a half-baked but earnest young preacher named Apollos. It’s what Paul did on the Areopagus. It’s what the Church did with pagans afterward. No reason we can’t do it too.

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