Friday, June 18, 2010

The Question of Happines

Too many times I've heard Christians say "But God wants me to be happy, right?" Well, frankly, no. Despite what I would like to believe, my happiness is not all that important to God. Why? Because if I only did things that made me happy, I'd be in continual violation of God's commands.
When I hear a Christian try to justify their actions by saying that "God would want me to be happy", I just know that the thing they're trying to justify is wrong. How many Christians use that as an excuse to get a divorce? "Well, God wouldn't want me to stay with my husband/wife and be miserable. God wants me to be happy, so I have to get a divorce." This isn't something that's generally taught in churches today so I think a lot of Christians are stunned if/when they find out God isn't all that concerned with their happiness.
I know the question is out there so I'll answer it for you. No, that doesn't necessarily mean that God wants you to be miserable. But then that begs the question; well, what exactly DOES God want? The answer is found in 1 Peter 1:15-16 "But just as He Who called you is holy, so be holy in all that you do; for it is written: 'be holy, because I am holy.'"
The next logical question is, what exactly is holiness? According to webster, holy means "exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness or righteousness; devoted entirely to the deity." So, in other words, be as like Jesus as you possibly can. Do you think Jesus was "happy" when he was being spit on, flogged, or crucified? Somehow, I doubt it. Jesus didn't strive for happiness... so why do Christians think that they can or should?
As I think about my life, I know that, in pursuit of holiness, sometimes I'll be happy and sometimes I'll be miserable. But see, happiness in and of itself isn't something that I want to pursue anyway. I don't want to be miserable of course, but happiness is so fleeting that it's pointless to seek after it. The thing that Christians are commanded to be is joyful. Joy is much deeper than happiness and, unlike happiness, you can be joyful even in the midst of bad circumstances.
Proverbs 7:24-26, though talking about foolishness and adultry, could apply to happiness. "Now, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Don't let yourself be tricked by such a woman; don't go where she leads you. She has ruined many good men, and many have died because of her." Happiness will ruin you if you follow wherever it leads.
Let me conclude by saying, I like being happy and I'm a generally happy, upbeat person. But my happiness or lack thereof doesn't dictate my actions. My pursuit of holiness does.

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