Life for the Christian can be frustrating at times. To our minds the Christian life is often unclear and vague. We have more questions than answers. What does God want me to do? Why doesn’t God answer my prayer? Why is God so distant from me? It would be a lot easier if God was direct and to the point. Why isn’t He?
Several years ago I read the statement: God is more interested in our holiness than He is in our happiness. Some of you will struggle with that idea. You will draw a dichotomy between holiness and happiness as if God can only give us one or the other. But that’s not the point of the statement. Certainly God wants His children to be happy, but not happiness at the expense of holiness. He knows that ultimately holiness for the Christian leads to our greatest happiness. It’s a matter of priority: Holiness then happiness; holiness over happiness.
As humans we prefer happiness. Our natural inclination is to do whatever we can to be happy. We want happiness for ourselves, our families and our friends. Without knowing it, happiness has become our primary goal in life. But it’s not God’s primary goal for us. Holiness is. As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Nowhere in scripture do we read Be happy! Just Be holy!
Here is what God knows about us – sometimes holiness can only be achieved through struggle. It comes through adversity; through bearing with the silence of God; through constant pleading with God; through months and years of prayer; through searching for God. It is as we struggle, sometimes with God, that holiness is formed in us. It won’t just happen – you have to go after it, work for it. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
Happiness for the Christian is not the absence of struggling in the Christian life. It is the presence of holiness. Knowing that little by little we are being transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 12:2) as we present ourselves to Him day by day (Romans 6:12-13).
If your ultimate goal in life is happiness you may miss holiness. If your ultimate goal, however, is holiness, you will find true happiness.
Stay in the Word