Thursday, July 10, 2014

God and happiness

"I think God wants me to be happy." So goes one of the standard explanations of many Christians who are either currently, or about to be, engaged in something they know God forbids. It is a lie, yet we are endlessly self-deceptive when we are determined to prostrate ourselves to some makeshift deity we have made, for the moment, supreme lord of our lives. Yet all such "gods" turn out to be hard masters, destroying even the pleasures they initially offered with the much larger and more overwhelming disasters that follow in their wake.

C.S. Lewis, as usual, puts it far better than I when he wrote:
Of course this law has been discovered before, but it will stand re-discovery. It may be stated as follows: every preference of a small good to a great, or a partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice was made.
Apparently, the world is made that way. If Esau really got the pottage in return for his birthright, then Esau was a lucky exception. You can't get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first. 
In other words, pursuing happiness instead of pursuing Him who brings joy will not, in the end, result in happiness but in emptiness and misery. But putting Christ first and obeying His will, produces joy and happiness as a by-product. You cannot sin your way to peace, joy, and the good life any more than you can grow wealthy by burning your money in the fireplace.

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