Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happiness and Holiness go Hand in Hand

Recently I listened to a sermon preached by Jesse Johnson. Jesse is the teaching pastor at Immanuel Bible Chirch in Virginia. He was starting a series from Psalm 119 which is a chapter of the Bible about the Bible. The whole chapter speaks of the Psalmist delight in the precepts of God. It is 176 verses about the Scriptures. It is fantastic! In the sermon Jesse made a statement that stood out to me more than anything else. I believe what he said is something many Christians get wrong unintentionally. Jesse said: "Happiness is found in holiness."

Amen!

I've heard many times that God is not concerned about your happiness but your holiness. Or God is not about making you happy but holy. While I undestand the intention of those types of statements I just don't agree with them. My reason is Psalm 119:1, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!” Or Psalm 16:11 where David writes, "You make known to me the path of life, in your presence is fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore". No doubt God saved us from the wickedness of our sins. He purchased us with his blood and broke the chains of sin’s dominion over us. He wants us to pursue him. He wants us to seek his will. He wants our obedience. He wants our holiness. But I don't think he wants them at the expense of our happiness. We too often forget God, as our Creator, knows what brings us the greatest happiness or greatest joy. He knows what will make us truly happy.

I think what is hard for us to comprehend is the fact that dying to self could possibly make us happy. As Christians we can be quick to say those who are worldly are not truly happy yet our hearts can tend to crave what they have at times. Why? We think it will make us happy as well. It is true that those who don't have a relationship with Christ are not truly happy. Eternal souls can only be satisfied with eternal pleasure or eternal joy. Those eternal realities are only found in the eternal God. A relationship with the eternal God is only found in trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior will produce a life of holiness because of the Spirit's work in changing your desires for the things God loves and hating what he hates. Or simply put: "Happiness is found in holiness".

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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