Sunday, August 3, 2014


Doesn't this just make you feel good?

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof,
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth,
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do.
Before starting, let me say: I love the song. Catchy tune. Feel-good message. And it does have some elements of godly joy in it, especially the idea of not letting anything bring you down.

But it does have a problem right smack in the middle of it. How so?

Happiness is not the truth.

You see, in our society we have made being happy the ultimate goal. Whatever makes you happy, that's what you should do. We use it to justify all sorts of things:

  • We pursue pleasure with every spare moment, instead of taking time to serve others. Because, well, that makes me happy.
  • We drown out the voices of Scripture and our consciences when it comes to certain behaviors, because if it doesn't make us happy it can't possibly come from a loving God, right?
  • We think that being happy is the reason to get married. So when we are no longer happy, well...that's what divorce is for.
  • And it's not just marriage. We quit when things get tough in all sorts of areas. Whether it's at work, church, or just a friendship that's hit some rocky times. "This doesn't make me happy anymore. I'm done."
  • We blame God when we encounter death, sickness, or financial troubles. "This doesn't make me happy, God. You must not love me. Do you even exist?'
Yep, we've bought the lie..."happiness is the truth."

If life and Scripture combine to tell us anything, it's that God wants to shape us back into his image through our time here on earth. Paul consistently wrote about how suffering was part of God's plan to shape us into the image of his Son, using his own suffering as an example. So did Peter. Jesus told us to take up our cross (an instrument of death!) and follow him.  He also told the religious leaders that a man who was born blind did nothing to deserve it and said that the Father causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall equally on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). 

There is nothing in the words of Jesus or his followers indicating that being happy was the goal of life.

And then there's Job. In the first two chapters of this amazing book, we learn that Job is going to suffer and suffer a lot. And then it happens, and we are told that none of it is because of his sin. How happy do you think Job was? Exactly. And yet he was right smack in the center of God's will, as the Lord used his circumstances to teach him and make him more of an image-bearer.

But really, go ahead...clap along. I do. Through faith in the Messiah Jesus, I am determined not to let life bring me down.

But when I'm not happy, when life is pressing down on me, I've got something better than happiness to carry me through.

Faith. Hope. Love. These are the truth.

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