In Part 1 of this blog series, I talked about the importance of attending church regularly and being a participant of the church and not just an attender. In Part 2 of this series, I talked about How there is more to it than just being “good” and acting “nice.” In Part 3 of this series, I talked about how God wants to be involved in all areas of our lives, even the small stuff. In Part 4 of the series, I talked about how all of us a called to ministers and do the work of Jesus.
As we continue with the series, I would like to address the fifth and final of the major lies I feel that Christians tend to believe and can be very destructive.
God wants us to be happy.
Happiness in the bible is usually mentioned in terms of a fleeting moment or a temporal, earthly event. The bible, Jesus (nor anyone else for that matter) never tell us that God wants us to be “happy.” He wants us to be a lot of things: righteous, holy, Godly, pure, sanctified, loving, patient, etc…but “happy” isn’t on that list. God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness.
Americans tend to think more in terms of happiness and immediacy than joy and steadfastness. We want God to just rain down good feelings and good times. The truth is that being happy and content in our daily lives is a byproduct of following Jesus with an obedient heart, but it is not the reason we follow Him.
We give our life to Him because His sacrifice He made for us demands a response. In turn, as we engage with Him and let the Holy Spirit lead us, and when we do this, He offers us the abundant life. Abundance in Christ however is not synonymous with happiness. In fact I would argue, that in some ways, being a Christian is actually harder than not being a Christian. The reward, blessing, and peace however far outweigh an sufferings we would ever experience during our time here on earth.
Lets look at a couple of bible verses that talk about the hope we can find in God:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
“Through him you believed in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
1 Peter 1:21
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
1 Peter 3:15
Bad things happen to everybody and Christians certainly are not excluded from that. It is not a questions of if bad things are going to happen, it is a matter of when. Just remember that whatever happens to you, God has it, so don’t waste it. We all have to walk through deep and dark times. You need to expect tough stuff to happen to you. How will you respond to the tough stuff?
We all have chains attached to us. What chains do you have in your life? We all have to walk through “It’s not fair, I don’t deserve that,” moments in our lives. It is wrong for Christians to believe that because God loves you, that bad things shouldn’t happen to you.
Troublemakers will always be a part of the bag. There will always be people who make life a hell for you here on earth. They will cause you trouble at every turn. It is the people who are closest to your heart that will hurt you the most, when you don’t expect it.
Remember that death is a reality that we must all face. The mortality rate in our country is 100%. We all die. Some of us live long lives, but some of us don’t. No one will go through their life without having tough stuff come their way. The tough stuff can cause us to run away from God instead of bringing us closer to God. Tough stuff can cause us to drop into a dead relationship with God. We need to stand up and face the crisises in our lives head on when they come our way. Remember that Paul from the bible did not escape suffering just because he put his faith in God. Jesus did not escape the cross even though he had lived a life without committing any sin. Don’t have a lifeless relationship with God because of the tough stuff that happens to you.
Pastor Chris at Prairie Lakes Church in Cedar Falls says often, “Don’t waste a crisis.” That is so true. Bad stuff will happen. When it does, it can become something that cripples us and causes us to shut down and withdraw. We could also choose to face it head on, learn from it and grow from it. By doing this, it will make us a stronger and better person. Make the decision to choose joy instead of sorrow. Make the decision to be happy instead of being unhappy. Don’t get sidelined by the tough stuff that will happen. Your crisises have the ability to help you and other people you interact with. Choose to look at them as growing opportunities.
Being a Christian does not mean that life will be great and trouble-free. But having the Spirit of God inside you gives you an inner peace that makes being joyful through the tough stuff much easier than if you don’t.
It’s not that God does not want us to be happy, but that happiness is a secondary feeling we can choose if we handle the tough stuff the way we should. Growing as a person and becoming more like the person Jesus was when he was on earth is the primary objective God wants for us. That should be our priority as well. When we actually are doing this, happiness will come much easier.
So in this series, we talked about 5 different lies that Christians tend to believe.
- Church is not necessary.
- All Christians need to do is be “good” and act “nice.”
- God doesn’t care about your small things.
- We believe that only pastors or those in “leadership” can, in fact, lead.
- God wants us to be happy.
So, which of these 5 lies, if any, have you believed or are currently struggling with? What lies would you add to this list?
I would say that #3 and #5 are the two lies that I struggle with the most. I am constantly battling lies within my mind. Recognizing lies for what they truly are is the best cure. The result is freedom and that is what I am ultimately seeking.