Is Your Primary Desire In Life To Be Happy Or To Be Holy?

Nothing in the Bible remotely suggests the idea that we should seek “happiness.”

But there is plenty written about seeking holiness: “Pursue holiness, without which no man shall see the Lordlike the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior.” (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15)

While many blithely pursue the life depicted on “Fantasy Island,” a battle is raging between the forces of heaven and hell — between good and evil. It is here that Satan seeks to destroy us while God is preparing us for eternity. It is here that either godly character is being forged, or souls are in the process of destruction. Hardly a place for “happiness.”

The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirthwaiting eagerly for our adoptionthe redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:22, 23)

The pursuit of “happiness” is centered in self and has about it a kind of Disneyesque surrealism. Surrounded as we are by struggling humanity in the abyss of misery and devastation, chatting about “happiness” seems a tad trite. Consider King Solomon’s poignant observation:

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feastingto listen to the rebuke of a wise man thanto listen to the song of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2, 5)

Paradoxically, it is only out of a life of holiness and service centered on glorifying God that we experience purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. Note Isaiah 58:10, 11:

And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. And the Lord willsatisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

If “happiness” were achievable in the wealthiest nation on earth, why then are we plagued by boredom, crime, drugs, the murder of the unborn, teenage pregnancy, and divorce? It is my suspicion that Satan has been less than truthful to us in holding out the carrot of “happiness.” What do you think?


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