TRUE OR FALSE
“God doesn’t care if you are happy. He cares that you are holy.”
I know this post is a little longer than normal but sometimes it takes few paragraphs to say something! So in the spirit of Shakespeare’s Polonius statement “As brevity is the soul of wit…. I continue.”
1) All men seek happiness – it is the end behind every action
“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” Blaise Pascal
2) We should seek ultimate happiness
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” CS Lewis
3) Ultimate happiness is found in knowing Jesus
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Phil 3:7ff
4) Our ultimate happiness and our holiness are not at odds
Happiness is part of holiness,” he said. “If you tried to describe for me what it means to be a holy person, leaving out happiness in God, you can’t do it. There is no such thing as holiness minus happiness in God. Happiness in God is — I will risk it — the essence of holiness.” John Piper
5) Our ultimate happiness and God being glorified are not at odds.
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” John Piper
6) All “happinesses” point to our happy God and when we delight in him as the source of our happiness the things He has made become beautiful light beams that we follow back to God Himself.
“We need not necessarily fear the intensity of our joy in created things. Provided we are anchored in a supreme love for God, then, when our love for one of His gifts shoots through the roof like a rocket, it carries our love for God along with it, lifting it to new, unforeseen heights. In this sense we rob ourselves of potent worship if we detach from the gifts or rush through the enjoyment of creation.” Joe Rigney
7) If I pursue creation, or sex, or money as the ultimate happiness I’m have twisted God’s design and become an idolater – this will not satisfy ultimately so I lose the happiness I crave.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
8) But if I pursue Jesus as my ultimate treasure – as the one who satisfies – That is always gain – and worth my life.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
9) This happiness in Jesus is meant to anchor us in the storms of life.
This kind of happiness is not because our circumstances are good. It is the kind of happiness that even if we lose everything else we can cry out against the storm “I’m a child of the king. I am His and He is mine.” No one can rob you of this happiness.
And if you are happy in Jesus as Pastor Doug Sherman likes to remind me – “someone needs to inform your face.” Good point 🙂
10) Summary (if you skipped to here you have cheated): The essence of sin is trying to find ultimate happiness in something other than God. The essence of holiness is being happy in Jesus. And when I find ultimate happiness in Jesus all other “happinesses” become more enjoyable. And when I lose all other “happinesses” Jesus is still gain – because the happiness in Him outweighs all others.
I need to be reminded of this all the time
“Prone to wander Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love…”