The Happiness Myth

Have you ever heard these phrases?

Do whatever makes you happy.”  or  “God would want me to do this/have this/get this because He wants me to be happy.

Now, usually I will hear these phrases when someone is trying to justify things like an addiction, over spending, or when they are looking for a weak excuse to leave their spouse.  But I know that I’ve said it too when I’m in a down moment or a season when things aren’t going my way so I’m not off the hook.

But I’ve come to realize that our happiness is a myth that God cannot possibly fulfill to us all.

Think about it.

Happiness is like nailing jello to a wall because it is different for everyone.

For example, I feel happy when I’m playing guitar, on the golf course, or watching baseball, but to you that may sound like your personal hell.   Your happiness tank may be filled by playing cards with your buddies, going skydiving, or eating random foods in Mexico.

Now all in all this doesn’t sound too tough for God to handle and none of those things are inherently sinful unless they become your “little god” that controls your every move.

But, the sticky part comes when you run into these “happy lads”.

  • I’m happiest when I drink so I’m going to the bar every night.
  • I deserve to be happy so I’m going to cheat on my wife.
  • I’m so happy when I look at internet pornography.

When we apply the logic “do whatever makes you happy” to these scenarios it doesn’t seem to make sense.  I doubt we would be so bold as to say “God wants me to be happy so He’s ok if I abandon my family for another man.”  Even with our 3-pound brains we know that seems off putting at best.

So God can’t be looking first and foremost for what we want to make us happy.  He can’t approve of actions that go against His character just for the sake of our happiness.

In fact our pursuit of our own happiness is exactly why Jesus had to come.  Because, in most cases our “happiness” is just a sugar-coated version of our sin.  We think that if we cover our sin with something better sounding it will be easier to swallow, but in reality its rotting our soul.  God must have expectations and desires for us greater than our happiness.

Listen very closely.

God’s plan was never designed for us to be happy; His plan was always for us to be Holy.

Listen to the words of Peter, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Holiness is where we find our definition for happiness and holiness is only found:

  • In Jesus not in our emotions.
  • In Jesus not in our sex life.
  • In Jesus not in the food we eat
  • In Jesus not what we drive
  • In Jesus not in our kids
  • In Jesus not in our spouse

Our pursuit of happiness will leave us empty and constantly changing based on the way the wind is blowing in our life at any given moment.

A pursuit of holiness will leave us desiring to know God more and striving to be more like Him and in that pursuit we will find a joy and happiness that this world can’t even begin to fabricate.

So the next time we feel the urge to justify a choice or decision, we should first ask if it will make us Holier not necessarily happier.

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