by Richard Mansel
There are three desires of the human mind that create the circumstances for a perfect spiritual storm. First, we will seek happiness in our lives. Second, we will seek to fulfill our own desires. Third, we will do what we have to do to be at peace with ourselves. Our minds will find a way to accomplish these goals if we do not control them. They will be wild horses loosed from their stables.
People will do anything to accomplish these goals. They will lie to themselves and everyone else. They will abandon their loved ones and plunge into human depravity while maintaining their innocence. These desires become the core of their lives and anything that crosses them suffers the consequences.
Those who cannot silence their conscience will dig deep to find justification for their actions even to twisting Scripture. Rationalization, accomplished at the speed of light, alleviates our minds of all manner of complications. We act and then find the means to justify our actions. There appears to be no limit to our skill in this area. In our haste, we leave no room for reason and sobriety.
One of the most devious of these rationalizations is, “God wants me to be happy.” God ultimately becomes irrelevant as we seek our own pleasures, no matter the cost.
Keeping these facts in mind, we examine whether God wants man to be happy. The answer is obviously affirmative. God desires that we find joy in our time on earth. However, the happiness we find must be God’s definition. Man’s selfish brand of happiness is insufficient.
God promises, “[T]he peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). We can find inexpressible joy in our lives if we are in Christ (1 Peter 1:8; Ephesians 1:3; Psalm 100).
God’s mind is vastly different from man’s mind (Isaiah 55:8,9). We cannot hold him to our lax standards. God bases truth on absolute standards established prior to the construction of time (Psalm 119:89). Situational or cultural ethics have no bearing on God. The feelings we cherish are simply grass blowing in the wind, ready to be burned and cast aside.
God did not call man to happiness, but to holiness. Holiness should make us happy but holiness comes first. Happiness never supersedes holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 1:3,4).
Man expects to do as he pleases, to accomplish the three goals mentioned previously, and God should stand by his side as he does so. We do what we want and expect God to agree. We imprison God in the structure we have constructed for him. We live however we wish and when confronted with the objective truth of Scripture, we say, “Well, God wants me to be happy!”
We must never confuse our voice for God’s voice. Millions do this every day. They are completely convinced that whatever they do, God will nod affirmatively. Therefore, the Lord is no longer the God who demands obedience (John 14:15), but the indulging grandfather ready with a smile and treats.
Wayne Jackson said, “How very foolish we are when we allow ourselves to be enticed from godliness by the temporal and exceedingly shallow emotions of passing mirages that will prove to be nothing more than cruel illusions in the eternal order of things.”/1
In our delusion, we believe the lie that true happiness is found outside of God in fleshly pleasures. We choose sexual pleasure, allegiances and materialism to justify disobedience to God. However, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”/2
by Richard Mansel