Does God Want us to be Happy?
There is a narrative in our current culture that suggests life is about pursuing pleasure at all costs. We are told, both explicitly and through subliminal messaging, that we should do whatever makes us the happiest at any given time.
For the Christian, this could not be further from the truth. The Bible teaches us to “count it all as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). But what can this really mean? Does God not want us to be happy?
Turning From Lesser Lovers
True happiness as defined by God is that which draws us closest to Him. As the Maker and Lover of our souls, He knows that we can not find any lasting peace or joy apart from Him. Therefore, while He has made a beautiful world for us to enjoy, He will often call on us to leave lesser lovers for His sake.
As humans, we are given to idolatry more than any other sin. In fact, we are constantly giving our hearts away to anything and everything that provides us with the least bit of positive emotion- be it happiness, gratification, or relief. God will often test those of us who claim to love Him by seeing if we are willing to give up these fleeting pleasures for His sake. We have only to look at Abraham on Mount Moriah, the disciples abandoning their full nets, or the rich young ruler to see this truth.
An Easy Choice
However, for those who truly know Him, this is an easy choice. He asks of us only what we could never keep, only what has come from Him anyway, and offers us everything of value in return.
Will we give it up, all of it, everything, for Him? If we know Him- His character, His heart, His nature, we will- and we’ll do it gladly. The underground church knows this and therefore withholds nothing, not even their own lives, for the unfathomable joy of knowing Christ.
A Universal Truth
This is why at Global Catalytic Ministries one of our vision statements is this: We give up things we love for things we love even more. It’s an honor to sacrifice for Christ.
The global church must carefully examine our own hearts. Is there anything, anything at all, we would be unwilling to surrender for Jesus Christ? If there is, we must violently pursue Him in search of what we are missing. Like the man who finds the pearl of great price, we must see the value of the One we have found so much so that, in our great joy, we sell it all to keep Him.
Once we do, we will join with the church throughout all ages in saying it is a joy to leave that which we love for the One we love even more.