As a Chinese person, I celebrated my new year on February 8. During the special New Year season, I greeted people with these words among others: “gōng xǐ fā cái” (happiness and prosperity) and “nián nián yǒu yú” (a wish for abundance and surpluses)—extending blessings of good health, prosperity, success, and happiness.

Jesus once described the kind of people God loves to bless. As He taught about the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:23), in what’s commonly known as the Beatitudes, Jesus described the character of those who belong to God’s kingdom, and He poured out God’s blessings on them.

Bless or makarios (in Greek) means “happy.” Some say this is Jesus’ prescription for human happiness. But our use of the word happy has to do with how we feel about something. Happiness depends on happenings, and that’s not what’s meant here.

Makarios describes people who are especially favored by God and who are happy because they’ve received God’s favor. They may experience sad events and may not be happy, but they still know they’re blessed.

So to be blessed is to be approved by God. It’s experiencing His congratulations and being commended by Him. Pastor and author Max Lucado wrote a book on the Beatitudes with the appropriate title The Applause of Heaven. When you’re the kind of person described in the Beatitudes, God gives you His approval. And you receive the applause of heaven. Another author calls these eight beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10), “The Beautiful Attitudes.” You and I are blessed as we experience God working within us, drawing out the actions and attitudes that meet His approval (2 Corinthians 10:18). Blessings on your day!

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Samuel 17:32-58