But just as we need to take stock of our physical health, we should also from time to time evaluate how we are doing spiritually. In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul told Timothy to watch his "life and doctrine closely." The Apostle Paul understood the need to keep a close eye on one's spiritual walk with God, as did the Greek philosopher Socrates, who once stated that "the unexamined life is not worth living." So to help you do a self examine on how you are progressing in your spiritual walk, I am going to offer you a series of questions across the course of the next week or so. I will limit myself to one question each post as to not overwhelm you AND to encourage you to give some time to each one of these questions. Today, question #1.
1. Am I more concerned about attaining happiness or holiness?
I believe given the context of our American culture and its emphasis on seeking self pleasure and self fulfillment, that this is a question we must all ask ourselves! We are surrounded by people on a quest – and that is to be happy! People want to be happy in life! And what is wrong with that? After all … it is an American right to be happy! In the preamble of the Declaration of Independence are these words …
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
So as Americans, it is our right to pursue happiness! Right?
Let me answer that with these questions: Does the Bible ever command us to pursue happiness? Does it ever tell us that the purpose of our salvation is for our happiness? The answer: No and No!
You see, friends, happiness is a warm and good feeling that is based on external happenings. So good things happen to me – I am happy! Bad things happen to me and I am not! That is happiness. But God wants something far more enduring for us … and it is the purpose of our salvation … and that is that we be HOLY! Consider Ephesians 1:4 which states, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be . . . HAPPY?" No … rather to be ... "HOLY and blameless in his sight." Consider also Ephesians 5:25-25 which reads, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her happy?" – No … rather to make her "HOLY."
God wants us to pursue holiness NOT happiness. And to be holy simply means to be more like Jesus Christ! The more we become like Him – the more JOY we will have in our lives! And joy is far better than happiness – because it is not determined by our external circumstances! This is why so many martyrs who died horrible deaths for their faith in Christ, could do so with a song on their lips – because they had joy in their hearts!
SO take some time and take a long hard (and HONEST) look at your life – what is it that you are after? Happiness or holiness?
Thanks for stopping by . . .