Is Happiness Stealing Our Joy?
You know that feeling, the one you get when you’ve gone out of your way for someone. Weather in response to that “still, small voice” or personal gumption, there’s a sense of a greater call we tap into when we help those in need. It’s the inexpressible emotions of uniting in labor with Missionaries in the field. It’s the reward found in our sacrifice to make sure others don’t go without. It’s the peace that settles after sharing the grief of the broken and hurting. It’s unspeakable and enduring joy.
While such joy is the theme of life for some, it’s all too rare a glimpse of God’s glory for most. It makes me wonder, is the pursuit of happiness stealing our joy?
While it may seem like a matter of semantics to many, some will agree that there’s an undeniable difference in the happiness that comes from the pursuit of earthly goals and the joy we discover in the work of God’s Kingdom, being His love extended to the overlooked, the devalued, the forgotten, the “least” among us. None-the-less, we spend the greater part of our resources in a lopsided pursuit of a temporary happiness that expires as the luster of our possessions fades, inspiring us to believe that “bigger” and “better” will somehow satisfy the restless desire for our hearts to be filled.
In this context, it’s hard to ignore John’s urging to “…not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” Peter also acknowledges the key to this joy when he said, “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
Christmas is a natural time of benevolence, and the joy that comes with giving. We’ve missed something though, if we believe God’s intent was that the birth of his Son would merely inspire a season of giving. Rather, His gift to us is that we needn’t settle for the “happiness” of this world, but that we share in the joy of being ambassadors for His Kingdom, giving completely of ourselves in service to others.
Posted on December 17, 2014, in Chris Jones, Christianity and tagged 1 John, 1 Peter, Benevolence, Charity, Christmas, Giving, God, Happiness, Jesus, Joy, Kingdom of God, Missionary, Pleasure. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.