The Dangerous Pursuit of Happiness.
We are told by society to pursue happiness, to do the things that make us happy, to walk away from relationships and people who do not make us happy. Success coaches keep telling us to ‘do what makes you happy,’ but in spite of all these people are still very unhappy. Many people have destroyed everything of value in their lives because they pursue happiness, not purpose.
In Mark 10, Jesus told a young man to give away his wealth and follow him. You would expect that the rich man would trust that Jesus knew what was best for him and that would make him obey the instructions of the master without second thought. But contrary to all expectations the man rejected the advice given by Jesus. He held onto his money and walked away in sadness.
He was sad not because Jesus was mean to him but because Jesus told him the truth. Jesus told him what was best for him, yet he was unhappy. He was sad because he had a skewed perception of reality. He was immature in his understanding of life and the things that are of value to the Lord and the kingdom. The fact that he was unhappy does not mean that Jesus was wrong. It meant that the rich man had zero understanding of spirituality.
Money is good but on a scale of value, the will of God, the plan of God for our life, the agenda of God are more important than money.
God’s will is more important than our short term happiness.
God is more interested in your growth, in the development of your character, than in your happiness. God doesn’t want you to be happy at all costs and by all means. No. God wants you to grow. Some of you are so immature that God cannot entrust you to handle anything of importance in the kingdom. If all you are interested in is yourself, and how rich you can become, how do you expect God to place the destiny of Nations and destiny of millions of people in your hands?
Many people are unhappy with their lives and relationships. Your unhappiness does not mean that your life is bad, or that your partner is bad for you. Your unhappiness may be because you are immature and need to grow up. Your happiness may be the result of poor perception and negative interpretation of the circumstances of your life.
Jesus told that man what was best for him but he was unhappy. He was unhappy because he was not ready to grow up in maturity and live by God’s standards for his life.
It is not God’s duty to make you happy. God is more interested in working out his purpose in our lives than in making us happy. We think God will give us any insane thing we ask for because he loves us. But that is not true. As a father, there are things I would never have given to my children when they were very young. Giving them their requests would have been irresponsible of me as a father. I gave them not what they wanted but what was best for them., what they could handle.
God gives us what is best for our spiritual growth, what would help us mature, what would help us build capacity to handle the responsibilities that await us on our journey.
You may be angry that God has not answered a prayer or answered it but not the way you wanted it and gave you something completely different from your request. ‘Why would God do such a thing to me,’ you wonder. ‘Is it because I did something wrong, is it because I am living with an unconfessed sin?’ None of that. God gives us what will help us develop character and position us to fulfil our assignment and not what will ‘make us happy’ in the short term but complicate our lives long term.
Not every good thing is good for you.
Not every desire of your heart arises from a place of wisdom.
Not every desire is sanctified.
Not every desire aligns with God’s will for your life.
That job you prayed for may not be the best for you because God wants you to start a business, and you even have no idea you had it in you.
A man was fired from his job. While wondering what was going on, God gave him an idea to start a business. He executed that idea and today he is quite successful. There was a time he was angry that God did not protect him at his former job. But in hindsight he knew that God had always been working things out for him.
Some things we desire arise from our vanity, from a place of competition and covetousness, from a place of moral weakness and will create chaos in our lives.
You may disagree with me. That’s okay.
But no father will give his daughter a serpent, a scorpion or a stone if she asks him for bread. He will give his daughter bread. God will do what is best for you, not necessarily what will make you happy. Understanding that God’s love is all encompassing and has only our best interest at heart should always give us peace of mind.
Praise George. July, 2021.