Why I don't want to be happy...

Well, to be honest, I'm afraid to be happy.

Because when I'm happy, it comes with a great disobedience to God.

I never really realized it until a short while ago...but when we consider ourselves happy, we are only fooling ourselves by living in the desires of our sin nature.

For example, I am tempted everyday by pure laziness. All I really want to do is lounge around in my pajamas watching house hunters and mindlessly checking Facebook every five minutes.. Because that makes me happy. But those are the days that I ignore my relationship with God the most. I get so caught up in the pleasure of my desires that I feel, although only temporary, happy.

I started learning about the differences between being happy, and being joyful. And I'd like to share with you some of the ones that, to me, are most important to remember.

Happiness is something the world offers, however JOY can only come from the Lord.

Just think for a minute and come up with a few things that define being happy, and things that make people happy. Then compare that to what the Bible says about joy. One of my favorite verses is John 15:10-11, "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.". Yeah, that's right, obeying God actually does fill your heart with JOY. Not just a little bit of joy, but that your joy may be full. I mean, c'mon, that's pretty cool. People travel the whole world in search for happiness - What a privilege it is to know where real joy comes from.  

Happiness is temporary, JOY lasts eternity.

While there are things that make you happy, and some may even last for a lifetime I suppose, there will come a day when it all passes away, and we realize then that none of these things that we saw as important even mattered. Revelation tells us, "...for the former things have passed away". All these things that we see as valuable and important here on Earth...quite frankly are worthless. 
Even Paul talked about how he considers all things worthless for Christ. What he once saw as valuable, now means nothing compared to what Christ has given him. The things that make us happy...there will come a day when we realize that it served no real purpose at all. But a true JOY that comes from the Lord..it's fulfilling. It lasts not only does it last a lifetime here on Earth, but it serves an eternal purpose. That joy that's hidden in your heart...it lasts an eternity there. 

Happiness pleases your desires, while JOY satisfies the soul.

None of us want to admit it, but it's true, we see in Genesis that each of us has a sin nature. A natural desire, as humans, that leads us to sin. Now, I don't know about you, but sometimes what I believe to be something that just makes me happy, is actually something that leads me right into sin and disobedience. But for the momentary time that I'm happy, my sin-nature desires are quite pleased. Not satisfied, but merely pleased. However JOY, that truly satisfies the soul. It lives within you. And eventually, although it's rather difficult at times, you no longer feel such a pull to those desires as you did before. 

Happiness comes from external things, JOY comes from within your heart.

This one is rather self-explanitory. Nothing that the world offers can bring the same joy to your heart as the Lord can. And when you have turned to Him, you no longer need happiness from the world. To sum it up, happiness comes from the world (world = bad), and joy comes from God (God = good). Pretty simple, right? 

Then why is it so hard to choose joy over happiness?

That sin nature. That's why.

You have to desire and choose good over evil in order to gain joy. The first step, at least to me, is to establish what in your life is pleasing your desires, and what is satisfying your heart and serving a kingdom purpose. And lastly, remind yourself constantly of the differences between happiness and joy. Personally, I have to ask myself what purpose I'm serving - the Lord, or am I putting my happiness above Him?

Thanks for reading along, folks. 


For Glory

     There are so many topics I could write about. And someday I hope that maybe I’ll get to them all. And maybe I’ll actually make a difference in someone’s life. That something I said could actually truly mean something to someone else. But that really isn’t the purpose of what I’m doing. I write because I want to share the things that God lays on my heart, I write because I can’t just keep all my thoughts to myself, even if no one actually ever read this...I guess I write because it’s just a part of me. God gave me this love for writing, so how could I not use that in anything but an attempt to glorify Him?

   This post is a little different. I’m inviting you into a time of personal reflection and growth.  Basically it’s just a weird conversation with myself that, as it's going on, is recorded on paper that I’m sharing with a public audience. It’s kind of a “writer” thing.

  My first post. I wrote about 1 Timothy 4:12. “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. But set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
 Now, I still treasure this verse. If you asked for a sentence or verse that describes my life right now, that’s what I’d give you. For some reason I just strive to be an example. A role-model. Someone who is trustworthy, reliable, pure, accountable, and stands firm in their faith. 
And as I look at my life I see that I’m so far off from where I want to be. I’m so far off from that verse. But it’s still what I strive for. It’s still what I desire.

I look at this world and I see how broken it is. But what can one person do? What can I do? Nothing. That’s what the world tells me. But God tells me something different. Something bigger.

I suppose I have high expectations for my life. Yeah, there’s your typical stuff like a future college or career and that kind of stuff. Which don’t get me wrong, that’s important and all, but I expect something far greater. So many times I have called upon God surrendering my life to Him. Begging to be used to bring glory to His kingdom.

And it isn’t ridiculous, like many will say.

In fact, it’s quite reasonable. God wants each and every one of His children to prosper. And that kind of achievement can only come from God. He is the one who promises to prosper us, after all.

Every day I rejoice in the knowing that my Savior has plans for me. He doesn’t just say “Okay, well, now that I’ve given you salvation you’re on your own and where your life goes from here is completely up to you.” None of us could handle that. None of us should. God has plans for us. Not just the types of plans that society teaches us, like plans to “Be a doctor, or lawyer, or other fancy business things like that.” But plans to bring glory to His kingdom.

Isn’t that magnificent?

But it isn’t always what we could call “joyful”. Glorifying the Father can come through a great deal of pain and suffering. Things significant and insignificant alike.

Look at Christians who are experiencing persecution in the Middle East. They flee their homes in hopes that they might escape in time before they’re faced with torture, imprisonment, and death. Sounds....promising, right? But they’re fleeing because they will not worship another God – they will not confess to any other name than that of Jesus.

Even when there is nothing left. Everything they had was gone. Fear filled every part of their lives. They didn’t deny their Father.

I can’t think of a more dire and dreadful circumstance – yet even when it looks so dark and hopeless we see that in the midst of it all our God is honored. What an amazing testimony.

I want my life to glorify God in such ways. But it doesn’t always have to be like that. God is honored and glorified when I share the gospel with my neighbor, or welcome new kids at church. When I memorize scripture, when I read my Bible every morning, when I show Christ-like behaviors, when I’m slow to anger, when I’m humble, etc. etc. God is glorified in all of it!

And I can only hope that others may see that in me.

That when I walk in a room the light of Christ shines and would be seen by everyone.

Because this life is not my own. I have been saved and born again. I am no longer here to please my own desires but I am here for something greater. For I know that this life here is only temporary – and Heaven is the real destination. But while I’m here, where the Father has placed me, my life shall be to honor Him.

I just want to be an example. I want my life to mean more than our earthly standards. I want younger generations to look up to me. I want to be obedient to Christ in every aspect of my life. I want to be a reflection of His love. I don’t want to be easily overtaken by worldly desires. I want my life to be something greater. No so that I will be recognized for it or even applauded – but because there is nothing else that I desire. Nothing else that I long for.

Thanks for reading along.