Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. – Psalm 1:1-2
We might expect that by now men and women would have mastered the art of happiness. By now the subject ought to be obsolete, because everybody ought to know what happiness is and how to achieve it. But in fact the evidence points in the opposite direction. You only need to look at the news briefly to recognize that genuine happiness is in short supply.
The Bible concerns itself with our genuine happiness. The word that begins Psalm 1, translated as “blessed,” may also be translated as “happy.” Likewise, the very first word out of Jesus’ mouth in his Sermon on the Mount was a form of the word happiness: Happy, he essentially said, are the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers (Matthew 5:3-11).
According to the opening verses of Psalm 1, one aspect of our happiness relates directly to how we think and how we see. Our thinking about reality shapes our lives, for better or for worse. Therefore, if we desire to live under the smile of God and enjoy the sort of blessed happiness that only He can provide, we must not embrace the godless thought patterns of our world. This “counsel of the wicked” refers to the aims of the ungodly—their maxims, principles, and ensuing patterns of behavior. Such worldly wisdom holds out the promise of happiness and blessing but in reality leaves us chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; we are ever searching but always coming up empty-handed. Happiness is found in refusing to chase after the wind even as the world calls you to do just that.
Yet the path toward lasting happiness isn’t just one of rejecting deceitful counsel; it also involves embracing the beauty of truth. The happy person’s “delight is in the law of the LORD.” Reading and thinking about the word of God is presented to us not as a task or a duty but as a joy, a delight. Why? Because it leads us into deeper communion with its author: our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior. So, whatever fleeting pleasures this world presents to you, cling to God’s word alone as that which can revive your soul (Psalm 19:7). Nothing else can bring true, sincere, lasting joy to your life.