Stop the Pursuit of Happiness and Start the Pursuit of Holiness

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” -Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

As Americans we are consumed with the pursuit of Happiness. I mean, after all, it is our right as US Citizens. We are a people who are obsessed with pleasure and seeking out the things of this world that will bring us the most comfort, satisfaction and happiness. We buy all the latest gadgets- iPhone’s, cars, houses, shoes etc. We seek after love and relationships as if our lives depended on it. And speaking of love, we all know that it’s “love” that defines what a marriage is, not the Bible (sarcasm) more on that in another blog… We love who we love because they make us happy and if we aren’t happy then we aren’t pleased, and if we aren’t pleased then someone needs to get on that and fix it because it’s my right as an American citizen to be happy, darn it!

But here’s the thing, our purpose on this earth isn’t to be happy. Our purpose is to Glorify God. God’s job isn’t to be a magic genie and make our lives the “best they can be so we can be as happy as we can be”. No. God’s job is to bring glory to Himself and He does that by creating things that will bring glory to Him- that’s us.

Here are a few things that we need to remember:

1: We as Christians are called to be holy, not happy.

“‘For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”” 1 Peter 1:16 (NLT) cf Lev 20:26

God calls us to be a holy people. We are set apart from the rest of the world. -1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

2: In this life we will have troubles

This is a promise. We are guaranteed to have troubles. Don’t believe me? Go read the book of Job. Job was a devote man of God who literally had everything taken from him, his family, his home, his way of life, all gone. And do you know what his response was? He praised God! (Job 1:20-22)

Anyone who tells you that if you follow Christ then you can have your ‘best life now’ is selling you something, and it isn’t the gospel of Christ!

The prosperity gospel will tell you that Jesus wants the best for you and He will make sure you have it all now! This isn’t true, and this does NOT align with what scriptures teach.

“Without Christ, this life on earth is the best it’ll ever get.But with Christ, your best life isn’t now. It’s still to come” -Rick Warren.

Our best life is in heaven, not here on earth!

3. We need to seek first the kingdom of God.

“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matt. 6:30-34

God provides. He knows our needs. He knows our desires. He gave them to us. Stop being so consumed with trying to be happy and start being SATISFIED in the things God BLESSES you with on a daily basis!

4: What our hearts seek is what our hearts will find.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:21

This comes prior to seek first the kingdom of God. And keep in mind that God is calling us to seek Him. In Him we find fulfillment, not necessarily happiness. If you seek after the things of this world, you will have to keep on seeking and seeking because they do not ultimately satisfy. It’s like trying to drink from a cup with a hole in the bottom. It does the job, but it keeps leaking, so you need to keep going back to whatever that thing is to refill. With God, our cup OVERFLOWS! The only one who can satisfy the human heart is the One who made it!

5: Ultimately, you can’t take it with you.

Everything on this earth will pass away. Possessions, people, jobs, relationships, social statuses. When we die, it’ll all pass away. So is what you’re living for worth Christ dying for? Is your happiness more important than the gospel of Christ and spreading His love? Think about that.

6: If you’re living a comfortable life as a Christian, you’re doing it wrong.

We are called to abandoned our plans for our lives and live for His.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)

We must do this DAILY! Accepting Christ as Ruler over our lives is a DAILY thing. Why? Because we are selfish people who continually think our way is better than His, myself included! And it’s hard! And there are days you really don’t want to. But at the end of that verse is another promise- that we will have LIFE. REAL, EVERLASTING LIFE! But we must deny ourselves our life, our way of living, our plans for our happiness and trust that God’s way for us will ultimately bring us so much more than we ever dreamed, while realizing that we might not see that this side of heaven.

I said all of that to say this, we need to stop being so concerned with happiness and chasing after fleeting things and start being concerned with things that are Holy and everlasting. While I understand that the call to “be holy as God is Holy” is actually unattainable because we are a sinful people, we are called to sin no more (Romans 6:1-4). Each day we can be less sinful than the day before because we have Christ who is continually making us into more of His likeness. If we seek after God, then ultimately we will be holy as He is holy in heaven. But until then, we have His grace that covers over our sins and our short comings. I’ll leave with this-

“God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is making your life happy” -Rick Warren.

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4 Responses to Stop the Pursuit of Happiness and Start the Pursuit of Holiness

  1. I really love this. Yes, I really do. I had this in mind, but never get around to writing about it. Thanks for sharing. I notice everything is about the world, and what it has to offer, but not necessarily about holiness. Good gracious, you couldn’t have said it any better.

  2. Cassie says:

    I wonder what you think about John Piper’s quote, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” His idea is all about Christian hedonism. It doesn’t just have to be a road of pure pain and suffering. God allows us to find joy and happiness in this life too.

    In reference to the comment, “Our best life is in heaven, not here on earth…What about your best life now. The book, naturally 😉 But in all seriousness, the Kingdom of God is now and not yet. So our best life is kind of breaking in now, wouldn’t you say? Just a few thoughts, because I think you are totally right, we aren’t entitled to happiness, but in reality it’s given to us anyway and when we become satisfied in God and we find Him the most beautiful thing, well then we can be happy even when life circumstances suck. I keep thinking of the song, Fix Your Eyes On Jesus, everything else grows strangely dim in the light of His glory.

    **Sorry, I was on Moodle mode, I just finished responding to an online discussion and had to add my two sense. I don’t me to be snarky. I enjoy the post and think about this often, because this issue comes up a lot with my clients and the students I work with in student ministries.

    • amysavaria says:

      Right! I didn’t really touch on it, but yes, I would agree with that statement that the kingdom of heaven is now and not yet. So we can have happiness now and enjoy things on earth now. I would not argue otherwise! God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve right now and I am able to enjoy those things now, but only because of Him because he gave them to me. I was just touching more on the side where people get so caught up in their own happiness that we forget that it is our Creator that even allows us to have those things. Does this make sense?

      And I totally get what you mean about “moodle mode” 😉 while I haven’t been on moodle for a while, I have seen a lot of twitter discussions today that have made me think- and this and the blog Adam Rozanas wrote earlier also are a result of all my thinking!!!

      But thanks Cass! I appreciate it! 🙂

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