[forthright] God Calls Us to Holiness, Not Happiness

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2008 10:46:53 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Square One

God Calls Us to Holiness, Not Happiness
by  Richard  Mansel

There are three desires of the human mind that
create the circumstances for a perfect spiritual
storm. First, we will seek happiness in our lives.
Second, we will seek to fulfill our own desires.
Third, we will do what we have to do to be at
peace with ourselves. Our minds will find a way to
accomplish these goals if we do not control them.
They will be wild horses loosed from their
stables.

People will do anything to accomplish these goals.
They will lie to themselves and everyone else.
They will abandon their loved ones and plunge into
human depravity while maintaining their innocence.
These desires become the core of their lives and
anything that crosses them suffers the
consequences.

Those who cannot silence their conscience will dig
deep to find justification for their actions even
to twisting Scripture. Rationalization,
accomplished at the speed of light, alleviates our
minds of all manner of complications. We act and
then find the means to justify our actions. There
appears to be no limit to our skill in this area.
In our haste, we leave no room for reason and
sobriety.

One of the most devious of these rationalizations
is, "God wants me to be happy." God ultimately
becomes irrelevant as we seek our own pleasures,
no matter the cost.

Keeping these facts in mind, we examine whether
God wants man to be happy. The answer is obviously
affirmative. God desires that we find joy in our
time on earth. However, the happiness we find must
be God's definition. Man's selfish brand of
happiness is insufficient.

God promises, "[T]he peace of God, which surpasses
all understanding, will guard your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). We
can find inexpressible joy in our lives if we are
in Christ (1 Peter 1:8; Ephesians 1:3; Psalm 100).


God's mind is vastly different from man's mind
(Isaiah 55:8,9). We cannot hold him to our lax
standards. God bases truth on absolute standards
established prior to the construction of time
(Psalm 119:89). Situational or cultural ethics
have no bearing on God. The feelings we cherish
are simply grass blowing in the wind, ready to be
burned and cast aside.

God did not call man to happiness, but to
holiness. Holiness should make us happy but
holiness comes first. Happiness never supersedes
holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 7:1;
Ephesians 1:3,4).

Man expects to do as he pleases, to accomplish the
three goals mentioned previously, and God should
stand by his side as he does so. We do what we
want and expect God to agree. We imprison God in
the structure we have constructed for him. We live
however we wish and when confronted with the
objective truth of Scripture, we say, "Well, God
wants me to be happy!"

We must never confuse our voice for God's voice.
Millions do this every day. They are completely
convinced that whatever they do, God will nod
affirmatively. Therefore, the Lord is no longer
the God who demands obedience (John 14:15), but
the indulging grandfather ready with a smile and
treats.

Wayne Jackson said, "How very foolish we are when
we allow ourselves to be enticed from godliness by
the temporal and exceedingly shallow emotions of
passing mirages that will prove to be nothing more
than cruel illusions in the eternal order of
things."/1

In our delusion, we believe the lie that true
happiness is found outside of God in fleshly
pleasures. We choose sexual pleasure, allegiances
and materialism to justify disobedience to God.
However, as C.S. Lewis wrote, "God cannot give us
a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because
it is not there. There is no such thing."/2

__________
1/ http://tinyurl.com/ypg4ru
2/ Ibid

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