Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do you want to be happy? I have been realizing how much I worship happiness. We all want to be happy, after all the American dream is the pursuit of happiness. Happiness has become an idol and we work so hard for it. We do all we can to be happy. We get married because the person makes us happy. We find a job that makes us happy, we find activities that make us happy. What happens when we become unhappy? What are you willing to give up for happiness? What do you keep because you think it will make you happy? Are you willing to break God's laws for happiness? If so, then I would say you worship happiness. I do, and I'll admit it. I struggle when I am not happy, work hard to be happy. It can destroy us, this strong desire to be happy and fulfilled.

What we need instead is hope. Hope when we are happy that we will have a time in eternity when it's always like that. Hope when we are unhappy that Jesus still holds us and it will all be set right one day. Hope when we are doing well, hope when we are down. Hope is stable, we can hold to it all the time, and it's grounded in Christ. Happiness is un-stable, it comes and goes like the wind. Hope is a solid rock.

More than that, Jesus never said to have happiness, He said to have hope. Hope is better, hope is more fulfilling. We need to pursue hope, hold to hope, cling to hope and thank God that we have hope. We have hope in our faith, in our salvation, and in the return of our Lord and Savior. We hope for Heaven, we hope for the salvation of our friends and family, and we hope for real, lasting and loving relationships. We hope in the body of Christ and we hope in the work and power of the Holy Spirit.

I am trying not to sell myself to happiness. It's a fleeting feeling, it's a cruel master and it's a controlling dictator. Just when I think I have it, it slips away and I can't hold it. Happiness is a tease, it's unfaithful, and it's never dependable. Happiness is selfish and self serving, and the pursuit of happiness destroy people, homes and families. How many people have walked away from things because they weren't happy? What would have happened if they would have looked for hope, hope that it can be better, that God can work and bring joy.

Joy. Joy is a tricky subject cause we don't really know what it is. We often equate joy with happiness or we make joy something so nebulous that it's hard to pin down. I think when we have hope we have joy. I think hope and joy come together, and I am not sure you can have one without the other. Joy may come as peace, fulfillment, finding your place and purpose. Finding your place in the Body of Christ. We find joy in community and we find hope in that same community. We come together, broken, flawed and hurting. We take turns treating one another's wounds. We encourage one another, teach one another and support one another. We hope in one another and learn to trust one another. Happiness is selfish and doesn't trust, joy and hope brings community. I need community, I need other people. I admit I am weak and I need help and I have hope. I hold to hope and it's so much better than holding to happiness. Don't get me wrong, I love to be happy and I'll take it when it comes, but it can be my focus. I can't worship it, I can't chase, I can't give my life to it. I have to trust Christ and have hope in the words that He tells me in His word. To trust Him, that He will come back and get me and I can have hope.

I have hope in the promises and hope in the faith. I can't see God, and I have never seen a angel or a pillar of fire, but I have my life. I have my heart, my walk, the ability to do things I can't do on my own. The ability to love and trust and have hope. That doesn't come from me, I am selfish and angry inside, but I have peace. It only comes from the Holy Spirit, and I have hope that He will continue to work in me and through me to change me. I have hope that His love will become my love and fill and over take the anger and bitterness that comes from losing the happiness I feel like I deserve.

Hope. Do you have hope? I sure hope so.

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