Bible Reading: 2 Peter 1:1-5

Make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life. 2 Peter 1:5

IF ONE OF your teachers gave you an assignment to list the happiest people in the history of the world, who would be on the list?

Adolph Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany?

Joseph Stalin, the communist dictator of Russia in the 1940s?

Nero, the Roman emperor who supposedly fiddled while Rome burned?

Herod the Great, who ordered the slaughter of all babies in his kingdom when he heard reports that a new king had been born somewhere around Bethlehem? (See Matthew 2:16-18.)

How about Haman, the guy in the biblical book of Esther who tried to engineer the destruction of Persia’s Jewish population? (See Esther 3-4.)

What about Queen Jezebel, who was married to Ahab? She had a man killed just to take his land. (See 1 Kings 21.)

You mean none of those famous people would be on your list of the happiest people in the history of the world? Why not? They had it all-power, prestige, wealth. Why don’t you think of them as happy people? For one very good reason: Their lives were characterized by hate, and a hateful person is never a happy person.

Think about it. The happiest people you know are those who love other people, lots of people. The happiest people are the lovingest people. That’s the way it works.

And God knows that’s how it works. That’s one reason he commands us to love one another, because he knows that hate hurts us and love enriches us. He knows that people who act in love toward all those around them experience love twice-when they give it away to another person and when they receive it back again.

A sixties singing group sang, “Love can make you happy.” It’s true. Obeying God’s command to love one another provides for your health and happiness, because love really can make you happy.

REFLECT: Who would be on your list of the happiest people in the history of the world? Who are the happiest people you know? Think about those people who have come to mind. Are their lives characterized by hate or love?

ACT: Give a valentine to the most loving person you know. Then perform a loving act for a friend or family member.

PRAY: “Your love for me makes me happy, God. It makes me so happy that I want to be loving and act loving, too.”

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