The Key To Happiness

I came across a blog post today that, frankly, left me feeling very sad. The words of this blogger so clearly reflect the mindset and fundamentally flawed worldview of our age, the results of which, are everywhere.
The blog post starts out:

“So this is life for you.

Whether you’re rolling in money and surrounded by models, or sitting on a street corner freezing your homeless butt off, or somewhere nicely between the two.
Whether you’re gay, lesbian, straight, or bisexual.
Whether you’re black, white, Asian, Indian, etc.
Whether you’re female, male, both, neither, or between the two.
Whether you’re a genius, average, or an idiot.
Whether you’re a democrat, a republican, anarchist, or libertarian.
We’re all human, though. We all basically look the same inside…
…What matters isn’t your bank account, your sexuality, your race, sex, intelligence, or political party. What matters is what you make of your life for yourself. The people you affect in the duration of your life time, the hearts you touch, and the memories you make.”

First of all, I think this blogger is combining dissimilar things and calling them similar. You cannot control your race, or gender, whereas, your political beliefs and sexuality are choices.

Second, I think her idea of “what matters” is severely off.

What matters is what you make of your life for yourself.” Perhaps I’m misunderstanding her, but after reading the rest of the article, I don’t think I am. I would contend that “what matters” is not what you make of your life for yourself, but what you do for others and how we love Christ.

This blogger goes on to include a list of several things she wants to do in life.


“For me, personally, I think I have an idea of what I want to accomplish. I made a list. Those in boldare completed, italicsare almost done, and plain text are things I have not accomplished. Yet. There are a lot of things still missing from my list, but I can’t list everything I want to do.

  • Advance in school past my years
  • Fall in love
  • Graduate high school
  • Go to the college of my choice to pursue the major of my dreams
  • Graduate college
  • Rent an apartment with my boyfriend
  • Get a corgi
  • Find life job
  • Get married
  • Be happy
  • Kids maybe
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Go skydiving
  • Go to Cherry Springs, PA

So I have a lot yet to do, and I plan to do it. Nothing can stop me. No one can stop me.”

While I think she has the right attitude, she’s applying it in the wrong way. Life isn’t about getting our way…it’s about making what we want the same as what God’s wants. We are not more powerful than God, and it’s unwise to believe that we are going to do what wewant and no one can stop us. What about God? I think He can change things in a hurry. If we set our minds on earthly things, and on what we want…we’re setting ourselves up for anger, bitterness, and regret. Let’s not build our own towers of Babel only to have them swept aside. 
 

Instead of having absolute confidence in our own endeavors and what we personally want to accomplish, we should have complete confidence in the goodness of God, and that obeying Him will result in our good. In His right hand there are pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11).

The blog post really starts to deteriorate toward the end:

“Shed all of those thoughts about who society thinks you are and find yourself. Take that time to figure out what’s really important to you. What do you love? What do you want from this world? There is literally nothing to tie you down (except laws. Try to follow those). What’s stopping you? Fear from the phrase ‘what if’? Are you going to let two little words and a mess of imagined scenarios hold you back from being truly happy?
If you’re gay, be gay and be proud. If you want to be a democrat, be a democrat. If you want to be rich, go out there and work for it and achieve that.
If you want to be happy, then by all means, go for it.”

We don’t need to find ourselves, we’ve already been found. Christ bought us with a price—His death, and now we are to live for Him. “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3 

There are other laws, spiritual laws, which are even more concrete than the laws made by man. Breaking these laws will result in damage–damage to others, and to ourselves. Doing whatever we want doesn’t make us happy. I’ll say it again. Doing whatever we want doesn’t make us happy. What makes us happy is living the way God designed us, which is for goodness. Living for God, and wanting what God wants makes us happy. Even if we don’t at first want the things that God wants, we can learn to desire them by practicing them.

And again, the blogger is focusing on the self. What is important to me, what do I desire, what do I want from the world? As I wrote in earlier blog posts, God wants us to become the kind of people where we can do whatever we want to do—to become like Christ. The irony is that what Jesus wanted to do was not for His direct benefit, but the benefit of others. We shouldn’t be focusing on what we want life to give us, but what we can do to help others live the best possible life—a life devoted to Christ, not our selfish desires.

We should instead be asking ourselves, “What is important to God, how can I grow to desire what God desires, how can I give to and help the world?”
Life isn’t about making ourselves happy or living for ourselves. Ironically, the harder you try to make yourself happy, the more discontent you’ll be with life.
What if what makes me happy is torturing babies? Should I do that? Some people do find pleasure in torture. In the same way, being gay is harmful to the ones who practice it, and to society as a whole. We can’t do whatever we want if what we want isn’t good. If what we want to do is good, then we are more than free to do it.
The only way to truly live a fulfilled and happy life is to obey God. This may sound restricting, but it’s actually the freest way to live. Are you free if you’re addicted to sin and selfishness? No, you are not. You are stuck inside yourself. Trapped, and held hostage, you are paralyzed from helping others or doing good when driven by sin. You’re hurting yourself, and preventing yourself from being the blessing to others that God designed you to be.
Look at society today. Addiction is everywhere, depression is ubiquitous, violence and crime are increasing, teen pregnancy is rampant, broken families are becoming the norm, STDs are an epidemic…why? Why is our world like this? It’s because people have rejected God, and His word. The Bible isn’t meant to spoil our fun, the Bible is there so that we can know how to live the very best lives we can.
God created us, He knows how we were designed to function, and He tells us how in the Bible. The key to happiness is dying to ourselves, and living in obedience to Christ. There is no better life.

5 Comments

  1. Excellent post! I especially liked this sentence: “What makes us happy is living the way God designed us.” So, so true.

  2. Wonderful post! Thanks for taking the time to put Biblical reason next to the blogger’s wrong thinking.

  3. How do you know what God wants, exactly? Why, exactly, is being gay a bad thing? Why is it a sin/selfish to be gay? I understand your points about it being selfish to just live for your own personal happiness. I see the importance of empathy. However, you are constantly saying to follow God’s will, to live the way He designed us, and I just don’t understand 1. how you know His will and his design for us and 2. why exactly His will deserves to be followed.

  4. There are several ways to know what God’s will is, but what I often draw from is the Bible, as it is the word of God. The Bible describes how we were designed, and how to have life, and that more abundantly.

    As for why we should follow His will, because He is God. He is good, and He knows what is best for us.

    Concerning homosexuality, it is a sin/selfish/harmful in the same way any sexual sin outside of marriage is sinful and harmful. The Bible teaches that sex was only meant to be for the context of marriage, which the Bible defines as a covenant between one man and one woman for life. There are number of reasons for why the Bible defines marriage this way, but that probably goes beyond the scope of this subject.

    Adultery, fornication, and homosexuality all fall outside that definition of marriage. It’s not how we were created to function, and therefore many harmful effects result from these lifestyles.

    However, I don’t think it’s a sin just to “be gay”. To have temptations to sin is not sin itself. Jesus was tempted after all, and did not sin. Some are more tempted to anger, or pride, or dishonesty, etc. But just having a particular propensity toward one sin or another is not wrong. Ideally, we would grow to where such things are no longer even temptations for us, but temptations themselves do not prevent us from living the righteous life we are called to live.

  5. Great post! Very true that living selfishly doesn’t bring fulfillment or joy.

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