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Reflections on the first three verses of the first psalm

Want to be truly happy?

We've all chased after happiness at times . . . running in paths of "pleasure for a season." But lasting, fulfilling happiness can't be found in temporary experiences.

True happiness comes to those who delight in godly instruction—those who take pleasure in the ways of God.

This means so much more than obeying commands.

Obeying the "law" of God alone won't save anyone from misery. In fact, without a deep, abiding love for God, attempting to find happiness in law-keeping traps people with good intentions in miserable lives, because everyone fails.

That's why having a pure spirit is more powerful than having a powerful spirit.

No matter how strong our wills might be, we will fail from time to time. But if our motives are pure, we won't let weakness stop us. We will get up, ask the Lord for a clean heart and a right spirit, and keep on loving and pursuing God.

The very first psalm speaks to us of having an "inner" desire for the things of God and how the right internal passions will keep us from "outer" mistakes, like walking on paths that lead to error and ultimately destruction. Being joyful in His ways protects us from following the mistaken counsel of those who don't love God and from running with those who scornfully travel in the wrong direction.

When our pursuit of God is precious to us—when we meditate on the instruction of the Lord—our hearts will lead our minds and direct our feet to blessed paths where we will experience joy and become fruitful in ways that not only bless our lives, but bless those around us.

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