I think I’m in one of those times when God is trying to tell me something – 3 times in the last few days I have heard messages or seen things regarding our pursuit of stuff to make ourselves happy, instead of finding our happiness and joy in God. 3 times! You know that old nagging voice inside us that says “If / when I had/ have ___________, then I will finally be happy.”
Time #1 – Pastor Charles Zimmerman preached at Macedonia Baptist Church where I played for worship last Sunday – and gave a great sermon on how not to put our hope in stuff. How more stuff will not make us happier. How do we know this? Because we all have some of the stuff now that at one time we wanted really really badly…don’t we? And did it make us as happy as we thought it would? No, of course not, and what’s more — we still want more stuff!
Time #2 – Mark Driscoll beat the exact same drum in his sermon on Stewardship. More stuff does not make you more happy!
Time #3 – I actually sat down to watch a bit of TV last night. I got sucked into this Science channel program on “Sexual Reassignment” surgery. I was glued to the TV – the reason why these folks each went thru utter life chaos, hardship, and sorrow…not to mention near torture of physical hardship, surgery, rehabilitation? They wanted to be happy. It kept coming up over and over throughout the program, “After my sex change surgery, I will finally be happy.” This one man, ex-Army dude, father to a cute little boy, married – made the incredible decision that he just had to be a woman and selfishly ripped his family apart in the pursuit of his happiness. I was grieving for that little boy and his wife. He went thru agonizing surgery and recovery – why? His own words “It’s about being happy.” Of course, the program ended with him walking off into the sunset with his new transvestite lover – but I so wanted to really sit him down a year later and ask him “Did it work? Are you as happy as you thought you would be?” The answer has GOT to be a throbbing “NO”
What lengths do we do go to “be happy?”
Where do we find true happiness?
Our true joy comes from the one who made us for a specific purpose for him – God. All other happiness from “stuff” will not bring us true joy, only the peace of God (Rom 5:1) thru Jesus will bring us true joy. Believe me, I have been thinking about my own former pursuits of “happiness” lately – I’ve had a few very vivid reminders of myself in my pre-Jesus life and it has given me amazing perspective in the futility of my old pursuits – but that’s another post. We all are born with a God-shaped hole in our soul and we try to find things in this life to shove into that hole to fill it – except nothing quite fits. There is only one thing that will fit – God. The love of God and living a life that pleases Him – by the grace of Jesus thru the power of the Spirit.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite verses in Jeremiah about this – how we have the fresh, clean, cold, clear, limitless living waters of joy from God and we turn away from them to drink water out of a leaky well (cistern) that we have dug ourselves – old, stale, warm, moldy, dirty water. Why? We thought we knew better – maybe in pursuit of happiness.
12Be appalled,(A) O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the LORD, 13for my people have committed two evils:(B) they have forsaken(C) me,
the fountain of(D) living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.