I am often dismayed by preachers who teach that God wants you to be happy. This places the emphasis on us rather than on God. Life is not about you or me; it is only about our awesome creator God. He does not call us to happiness, but rather to holiness. It is through holiness that love is perfected. Perfected love brings uncontainable joy into our lives. This joy is the result of communion with our Father, nothing more and nothing less. It is not happiness we should be seeking. Instead we must long for the joy that comes from living in authentic relationship with our Savior and Lord.
Unfortunately most of us spend our days looking for personal happiness rather than personal holiness. We want a quick shot of something to make us feel good in that moment. For some this means shopping, for others it means being complimented or feeling important. We accumulate stuff to keep up with our neighbors, convinced that surely the next shiny toy will finally make us happy.
Marriages have become disposable as we search for the perfect mate to fulfill our desires and bring us the happiness we seek. Advertisers bombard us with the message that buying their product will bring us the happiness we deserve. All the while, our search for inner peace is wrapped up in ourselves. We will never find what we are looking for until we bow down and surrender all that we are to Jesus. No amount of striving will ever gain a single inch. It is only when you let go that you will begin to experience the life you were created to live.
Where in Scripture does it teach that we should aspire to personal and material success? We have been sold a bill of goods from the very pulpits we look to for wisdom. Our mission is not to live our best life now, but rather to give up all that we are so that Jesus might be glorified. Life is not found in building empires but in surrendering so that the Kingdom of God might advance. Our perspective has been hijacked by the father of lies. Until we get our eyes off of ourselves and onto our Savior, we will not know what it truly means to be alive.
Have you been seeking happiness at the cost of holiness? Are you acknowledging God with every decision (Proverbs 3:5-6)? The life of a disciple has nothing to do with the pursuit of happiness and everything to do with a reckless, relentless pursuit of holiness. God desires our obedience (I Samuel 15:22), and demands nothing less of His followers (Matthew 16:24).
For what are you living your life? Are you desperately seeking to fill the ache in your soul with material things and temporal pleasures? Or are you diligently pursuing your Creator with all that you are? If we are serious about being a true disciple of Christ, we must put aside our happiness and focus on His Holiness. In this we will find unspeakable joy and life everlasting.
In what ways do you find joy better than happiness? Please join the conversation below.