Happiness is Not Our Goal

This is a hard subject, but we in the West often believe that the primary goal of our life is to be happy. The Declaration of Independence for the United States of America promotes the concept that mankind is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But is happiness the goal in life?

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. (2 Timothy 2:3-4)

The fact that we are born to be happy is rarely questioned by anyone. No one bothers to prove that fallen human beings have ANY moral right to happiness, or that they are any better off happy. The goal is often to get the most happiness out of life.

I was read A. W. Tozer and he writes that “the whole hectic scramble after happiness is an evil as certainly as is the scramble after money or fame or success….”

This can be easily discovered by simply reading the New Testament. The emphasis of God is not upon our happiness but upon our holiness. God is more concerned with the state of people’s hearts than with the state of their feelings.

The soldier does not seek to be happy in the field; he seeks rather to get the fighting over with, to win the war and get back home to his loved ones. When he gets home, it is there that he or she may enjoy life to the fullest. While the battle is raging, his most pressing job is to be a good soldier regardless of how he feels. (from “Of God and Men” pp. 48-49)

Ask yourself a few direct questions…

  1. Do you seek your holiness more than your happiness?
  2. Will you reorganize your priorities to reflect your commitment to Christ and his kingdom?
  3. Will you allow God to speak to you through your reading his Word, so you better know the leadership of the Holy Spirit in your life? [ Read the Bible in 2014 ]
  4. Who in your life will hold you accountable for the commitments you know that you need to make?

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Some Good Advice

I read about this good advice from which we can all learn. It is a quote from Mother Teresa (Missionary, 1910-1997). Imagine people living this way!

  • People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
  • If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
  • If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
  • If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
  • The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
  • For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Forgive, be kind, be happy, do good, and give your best. What more could you give in life and who matters more than God? When it is between you and God, will you follow this path of honor? Mankind has the ability to choose an honorable path or the world’s path. Be a person of honor. Take the path that leads to an honorable destination.

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What Makes a Happy Marriage?

I Love my wife, I guess you already knew that. Kim and I have been married for almost 29 years, and one thing I have realized is that words like commitment, security, friendship and shared values are much more influential in a marriage than outward appearance and sexual activity. I’m surprised she stays with me because I’m not much to look at, a bit overweight, don’t make a whole lot of money, spend too much time at work and am physically broken which limits some of my activity. We have something that the world does not understand. When I think about love, this verse comes to mind:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Love is not just all things erotic as we see in our culture. Love is not really that warm fuzzy feeling when she walks in the room. Love is a verb. All that Paul describes in this love passage involves action.

In our culture, marriages are falling apart. In fact, according to recent statistics, one out of two marriages will end in divorce. The magazine, Psychology Today (June, 1985) had an article called “Marriages Made to Last,” which gave the results of a survey by Jeanette and Robert Lauer of 300 couples with successful marriages. Here are the top reasons, in order of frequency, that the respondents gave when asked what kept them together.

Remarkably, the top seven were identical for men and women:

  1. My spouse is my best friend.
  2. I like my spouse as a person.
  3. Marriage is a long-term commitment.
  4. Marriage is sacred.
  5. We agree on aims and goals.
  6. My spouse has grown more interesting.
  7. I want the relationship to succeed.

Other reasons included “We laugh together,” “We agree on a philosophy of life,” “An enduring marriage is important to social stability,” and others.

I couldn’t help but notice that these reasons are totally consistent with biblical principles and opposite to the message of our culture. Popular songs, books, and shows emphasize superficiality and sexual stamina (notice any Cealis commercials lately?), but these successful couples spoke about liking the other person and about being friends. Society implies that relationships happen quickly, but these folks said that love takes time, and that there must be a long-term commitment.

Contemporary views of love are self-centered, expecting the other person to meet my needs, but these couples say that real, lasting love involves work and the desire to make the marriage succeed. For many, divorce is not even on the table.

Years ago (and today in other cultures) parents would arrange their children’s marriages. In those situations, both bride and groom knew that they would have to learn to love the person they married. I think we have turned it around. Instead of “loving the person we marry,” with our self-centered emphasis, we say we must “marry the person we love.” So we look and date and try relationships to find our romantic ideal, the one “just right” for us.

Let’s not return to the days of arranged marriages, but we must return to the truth that love means commitment,  that it must be learned, that it is a verb and means action. Check out 1 Corinthians 13 for a vivid description of true love. Let’s learn from these successful couples and dedicate ourselves to real love based on commitment and unselfish action.

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Fostering Contentment

It’s hard to be humble and satisfied living in America. Madison Avenue would have us believe that life is not worth living without the product they are selling; the car, boat, makeup, jeans, beverage… How can we learn to be content?


Most of us are alcoholics when it comes to material things. — Rich Nathan

Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand desires makes a wise and happy purchase. — John Balguy

If we have not quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot. — John Bunyan

God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him. — John Piper

Top 10 Ways to Practice Holy Happiness:

  1. Allow your inner peace to shape your circumstances, not vice versa.
  2. Explore the concept of delighting in the person and ways of God.
  3. Hold your desires loosely until confirmed by God’s spirit.
  4. Meditate upon the kingdom abundance and favor that belong to you.
  5. Search out the sacrament of the present moment.
  6. Learn to ask, “what is God up to in this circumstance?”.
  7. Differentiate between what is right and what is comfortable.
  8. Rest in the security that God work all things for good when you are called according to His purpose.
  9. When you are confused or disappointed, trust.
  10. Find your greatest satisfaction in fellowship with you Father.