Before reading these insights, I encourage you to do the study: Trojan Horse Lie: Happiness. Black text is from the original study. My insights are in blue. I'd love to have you leave a comment and share your insights.
Holiness isn't a popular subject for most Christians because it means dealing deliberately and honestly with our sins and studying Scripture to find out what pleases the Lord. But holiness, not happiness, is God's goal for our earthly lives.
We will have perfect happiness in heaven, but this life will be filled with challenges and refining fires. Recently, my husband and I were talking about this subject and asking ourselves if we were truly living with that mind set. And we had to admit that we often focus too much on our earthly lives and too little on eternity ... too much on our selfish desires and too little on God's desires.
When we see our lives as a place to prepare our hearts for heaven (1 Timothy 4:8) our temporary earthly happiness pales in significance to our eternal happiness.
1. We can experience true joy and contentment as long as we don't base these attitudes on our present circumstances.
Philippians 4:12-13: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Paul was a godly example for all of us, yet he experienced a great many difficulties during his Christian life (2 Corinthians 6:3-10). God could have made things easier for Paul, but that obviously wasn't best for Paul or for God's purposes. We see this truth in the lives of many Bible heroes and heroines--Joseph, Jeremiah, Ruth, Paul, etc.
1 Peter 1:3-9: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
This is such an important principle of our faith: Christ has done all that needs to be done--he defeated sin and Satan and offers us eternal life. But our present life here on earth will still bring us troubles. And one purpose of those sufferings is to test and prove our faith. If becoming a Christian made life easy and happy, people would become Christians simply for that benefit, not out of love for Christ. See also John 16:33.
2. I encourage you to choose one of the verses below to memorize or read daily this week.
- It's natural to make happiness our goal.
- It's unnatural to make holiness our goal.
- That's why we need Someone supernatural to give us His strength and power--Philippians 4:13.
Holiness is not something I hear much about these days. How about you? Are there people who are helping you grow in Christ, keeping you accountable, challenging you to improve your character?
Hebrews 12:14: Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
1Peter 1:15: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.
2 Timothy 1:9: He has saved us and called us to a holy life.
2 Peter 3:10-11: But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted