Dear Precious Friends,
On this Fill our Soul Sunday, This 2nd day of 2022, I pray we are embracing this gift of a new day and a new year. I pray as we spend time with the Lord, our top priority of 2022 is to grow in Holiness (Godliness) not happiness when depends on what "happens". “Do what makes you happy,” is dangerous for Christians. Do what makes you holy. Pleasing God will lead to joy, which is so much more sustainable than a fleeting pleasure of what the world calls happy.
2 Timothy 1:9 says, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time …
We don't need to be happy to be holy... We are called to pursue holy lives first: “Be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16). This unites us with the character and likeness of God, who is holy.
Because we must start by living according to his character, his nature, and not our own. This is an active choice that requires work; it’s not something we passively experience.
God does want us to be "happy" which means blessedness. But we must understand that happiness is something we experience as we choose to pursue holiness. Not the other way around. Throughout the Bible, God refers to happiness as being blessed. But true blessedness can appear to run counter to what the world tells us will make us happy. We read a lot of passages about this in the Psalms for example:
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. (Ps. 1:1-3)
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:8-10)
Jesus refers to BLESSED when He speaks of Happiness....
These passages essentially tell us, “Happy are those who choose to pursue holiness!” Jesus speaks to this in his Sermon on the Mount: blessed or happy are those who are poor in spirit, mourn, are humble, hunger and thirst for righteousness, are merciful, are pure in heart, are peacemakers, and suffer because of righteousness. Why are they blessed? Because they pursue holiness, not happiness. They pursue God, not self.
When we choose to pursue holiness, our lives are more truly blessed, joy-filled & content. We are not seeking happiness in what the world defines as happiness, nor are we simply seeking our own desires or pleasures. Instead we choose to pursue God—we choose holiness—and in doing so we find true blessedness.
When we live this out, we are no longer anxious but rejoice always and live in the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:4-7).
True "happiness; (Blessedness) is only experienced in true holiness. You cannot separate the two, but you can choose to pursue the wrong thing. Choose the pursuit of holiness over the pursuit of happiness. Godly "Happiness" (Blessedness) will then be something we experience as we live in holiness (the character, nature, and likeness of God).
As we choose to put God first in our lives and grow in our relationship with Him, we choose Holiness. May we all choose the right pursuit.