Friday, June 24, 2011

Holy or Happy?

What if God designed marriage to make us Holy more than to make us Happy?

This quote comes from Gary Thomas and his book, Sacred Marriage. I was recently reminded of this quote earlier this week by a friend of mine. It has stuck with me all week, but in a slightly different way. The question that I've been pondering this week is this;

What if God's purpose for my life is Holiness rather than Happiness?

Somewhere, somehow, a lot of us grow up programmed with a sense of entitlement. Maybe it's the growing up in America where we have so much, with the primary message being "if you work hard enough, you can have it all"...you know, the American Dream and all. Whatever the reason, this sense of entitlement is simply something like this; I deserve to be Happy. Then we become Christians and we carry this over into our faith journey. Somehow we believe that God's greatest desire for our lives is that we be happy. There are huge ramifications if we live life this way;

- It makes God's favor to be something we earn. If I'm not happy, surely I must be doing something wrong.
- It makes us the god of our life. If I am happy, it's only because of what I'm doing right.

When we live life believing that God's greatest wish is for our happiness, then when we are in times of deep trial, testing or pain, we have no way to reconcile the God that loves us with the God that allowed all of this stuff to happen...because, surely He wants me to be happy (or so the thinking goes).

But what if, what if God's greatest wish for you has very little to do with happiness, but instead holiness?

"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.' " (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Holy in simple terms means "set apart...different." God is holy; He is set apart, He is different, there is none like Him and never will be...He is Holy. And He calls us to be holy; different, set apart. We are to love when the world hates; we are to live in freedom when the world is bound by sin; we are to live in power while the world suffers in weakness; we are to be temples of God...we are to be holy.

Holiness and happiness do not go together. A holy person can and will have times of happiness, but also times of desperation and pain. But it is through the tests, trials, and pain that we learn to trust God and lean on Him. It is through those times that God wrestles the steering wheel from us. It is through the fire that He seeks to make us holy. Someone who trusts little and seeks control of their life isn't living a "holy" (different/set-apart) life. They are living like everyone else. On the contrary, someone who lives with extreme faith in the face of tests, trials and pain is definitely living a holy life...a life "set apart" or "different."

And in the end, if it is true that God wants our Holiness more than our Happiness, well then, that changes everything...everything!

1 comment:

Sonja Denney said...

Excellent Pastor Mike...I couldn't agree with you more.

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