Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Called to be Holy, not Happy

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 
Thessalonians 4:7

We live in a culture that worships happiness. Everything we do seems to be determined by the reward at the end and whether it will make us happy. We hope for wealth, thinking it will bring happiness. We test relationships for the happiness factor. School, job, family--everything is judged by whether we are happy. We have convinced ourselves that God just wants us all to be happy.

This is not new; it is as old has humanity itself. Adam and Eve thought being like God would make them happy. As it turned out, happy was the last thing that disobedience allowed. Our attempts to be happy will ultimately stymie us not matter how are we try or how many things we attempt.  C.S. Lewis articulated man's drive for happiness in Mere Christianity

...And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history--money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery-- the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. 
                                                                    (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity "The Shocking Alternative")
Our idea of happiness too often leaves those around us unhappy. We pursue our own goals without considering the impact on others. As long as we achieve happiness, how we got it doesn't matter. And that usually backfires. God never once calls us to happiness. Jesus spoke the Beatitudes in his Sermon on the Mount, and He did talk about happiness, but the happiness He described followed something entirely different: holiness.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
Thessalonians 4:1-8 To abide in the faith of the gospel is not enough, we must abound in the work of faith. The rule according to which all ought to walk and act, is the commandments given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctification, in the renewal of their souls under the influences of the Holy Spirit, and attention to appointed duties, constituted the will of God respecting them. In aspiring after this renewal of the soul unto holiness, strict restraint must be put upon the appetites and senses of the body, and on the thoughts and inclinations of the will, which lead to wrong uses of them. The Lord calls none into his family to live unholy lives, but that they may be taught and enabled to walk before him in holiness. Some make light of the precepts of holiness, because they hear them from men; but they are God's commands, and to break them is to despise God.

photo overlay: mine
papers and stars: Julie Enrique Designs

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