God Doesn't Want You To Be Happy
The other day I was running late, and my day was shaping up to be tougher than it needed to be. On my way out the door, I grumpily said to my kid, "90% of life is having to do things that you don't want to do... you better get used to it."
He just nodded and went back to playing video games.
It's easy to equate all of the things that are inconvenient to us, that thwart our plans, make our days stressful, our lives mundane as somehow outside of God's will.
Because God just wants me to be happy, right?
The problem with this kind of thinking is that it reduces God to a happiness slot machine. We throw enough effort into our faith to consider whatever we've done for God as an investment, coins that we've dropped into the machine.
And then when we pull the lever on this happiness slot machine and it doesn't work out for us, we not only feel like we might be outside of God's will, we also are tempted to wonder what the heck God is doing.
Would it shock you to know that God doesn't want us to be happy? It's true. God doesn't want us to be happy. He wants us to be holy.
In 1 Peter 1:15, the Apostle Peter wrote to the early Christians, "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do..."
But what does it look like when I am really striving for holiness? What does it look like if I am following Peter's advice to be holy like Jesus? Does it look boring? Does it look prudish? Not fun? No!
Jesus told his disciples what it means to pursue holiness--true holiness that leads to true happiness. He told them, "These things I have spoken to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
God doesn't want us to pursue happiness, he wants us to pursue Him. And the most excellent way we can pursue God is by following in the footsteps of his Son Jesus, who shows us what God is like.
May you push back today against the notion that your purpose is to pursue your own happiness and instead run with wild abandon after Jesus as you pursue holiness that leads to abundant life.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.