(originally posted 8/25/2015 at littlegirlriseup.blogspot.com)
It is amazing how many people get offended when someone points out that God is more concerned with our salvation than He is with our happiness. If God desired our happiness more than our salvation then the first commandment would be “Love yourself with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind” Rather than, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Interestingly enough, even the second commandment puts others before us, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” God’s order is Him, others, then us. God says we are last, but the world tells us we should be first.
Often times, obeying God by putting Him first does not make us very happy, at least momentarily. Even more so, putting others before ourselves doesn’t make us very happy either. But either way, God takes priority. There is a difference between our personal pursuit of happiness versus learning how to live with Godly joy. First and foremost, God’s desire for us is to repent and be saved. Repent means to turn away from something, to stop doing it and surrender to God, putting His desires over our own. Only then can we experience true joy and lasting, meaningful happiness by putting God first in our lives. Only then are we loving God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind. If we are not putting God first in our lives, then any happiness we experience will most likely be worldly happiness. Worldly happiness is fleeting and always contingent upon the circumstances or people in our life. True happiness, ie: Godly joy, is contingent only upon our relationship with God and remains unaffected by the rollercoaster of circumstances and choices that make up our life.
Those who feel like they have been cheated or robbed of happiness throughout their lives become consumed with the pursuit of it. They are convinced, “God wants me to be happy. God wants me to be happy” when the fact is, God wants them to be saved, to get right with Him, to have consistent intimate fellowship with Him and to put Him first in all things. We want God to be our Savior and to make us happy, however we are much more reluctant for Him to be Lord over our life and to teach us how to have joy. God doesn’t want our happiness, He wants our joy. Why settle for good when God wants to give us His best? Our pursuit of happiness is not God’s best. Our salvation and righteousness, which lead to joy, are. Only through right standing with God can we have the joy that God desires for us. For those who have the ears to hear this and the heart to receive it, let go of the worldly illusion of happiness. Let it go. Close your ears to this world, surrender yourself to God, truly make Him Lord of your life, let go of the fear of unhappiness, fall into consistent, intimate fellowship with Him and let Him bring you into right standing with Him where you will surely experience true joy, a joy that cannot be shaken nor taken away.
Truly, as I’ve previously stated, if given the choice, God would rather us die unhappy yet saved from our sins, than happy and lost in our sins. If given the choice, God chooses the salvation of our souls over the happiness of our heart. If given the choice, God chooses the pursuit of righteousness over the pursuit of pleasure. Granted this may be a hard truth to swallow, but it is a truth nonetheless. There are many uncomfortable truths in scripture, but we don’t like to think about those, we only like to share and think about the ones that make us feel,……well,…….”happy”. That puts me in an unpopular position because God’s call upon my life is to speak truth, and quite often that makes me the party-poopin’ bad guy. People that God uses to remind His church of the truths in His Word in which we often forget or ignore, can seem like “Debbie Downer” or “Eeyore” to those who are offended by such truths. Anyone who busts up in a room and reminds God’s people that our earthly lives are a battle ground, not a play ground, well, no one really wants to invite them back to the party. That is why God gives tough skin, a bold spirit and a steel resolve to those whom He calls to such a task. Thankfully we are the “Body of Christ”, which means those of us who are called into one ministry are balanced by those who are called into another, yet we all work together to glorify God, bear Him fruit and serve each other.