Trends come and go. But one trend that I have noticed over the past few years does not seem to be fading. I cannot keep track of how many times I have heard and read that Jesus wants me to be happy! An example of this is a post on Facebook that I recently saw showing a picture of a Bible open to the passage about being a new creature in II Cor 5:17 - this part was highlighted, and then it showed a note that read as follows:
"God loves us too much to allow us to stay tied to anyone or anything that does not bring out the best in us!"
The note sounds great! But is it Biblically accurate? It sure fits with the trending ideas of many people today. Here is the thought process that leads to this concept. Since Jesus so loves me and knows me, His desire more than anything is for my happiness. This concept is seen in how many people view their relationships with parents, grand parents, spouses, and children. God wants me to be happy. So all things must work towards this goal being achieved. Right? If my marriage does not make me happy, end it. If my children are constantly complaining, give in to their wants. If my church convicts, change it or leave. The Bible is simply a guide with my happiness being the motive for how I interpret it. Right?
Not so fast. God has a key ingredient that He desires in us far more than happiness. This ingredient in fact will often produce things that initially do NOT make us happy. What is it?
God desires our obedience above all. Dieing to self and living surrendered to His will is far more important than our happiness. Why? As individuals our happiness is never satisfied and is constantly in a state of change. The flesh - the old man - does not know what it truly wants. We see this lived out in the life of children today.
As a parent, it is always a struggle to resist making my children happy. The more you try, the more you fail. We learned quickly that playing the Happy Game would lead to spoiled out of control children. We also realized that those out of control children would end up spoiled undisciplined adults. This we did not desire. Obedience and self control are difficult to teach but they are a must. It has not alwaysbeen easy but it is more than worth the struggle!
When we apply obedience to God and controlling our perceived wants by deferring to His will, the working within us is PEACE. This peace produces joy. Happiness may come, but it is not immediate if at all. Why? Because the old flesh will continue to wrestle against the new creation. Even the Apostle fought this fight daily.
We must not forget that the Will of God will never contradict the Word of God. Thus happiness is always sacrificed for the Will of God.
That is why Paul shared the following with the Phillippians:
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
And so is the irony. While everyone from Duck Dynasty to Dolly Wood emphasis being happy, God is on a different page working for our eternal good. He knows our happiness is more often than not working against His best for us. He is working His Will in which can be found PEACE! Peace with God, and peace with people around us!
Now the question, does this make you HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY?