Consider it Pure…

One of my favorite things to do while I’m driving is listen to Christine Caine. If I aspire to serve like anyone, it’s like her. If you aren’t familiar with her, please check out the A21 Campaign and look her up on Youtube.

Anyway, Tuesday morning I was driving to Columbia from my parents’ house, and I listened to this sermon. Sufficiency in Christ is something that I’ve struggled with. It’s so easy to become wrapped up in what we want for ourselves and what we think our life should like. If I just had this job, I’d be happy. If I just had a boyfriend/girlfriend, I’d be happy. If I could make just a little more money, I’d be happy. We fixate on stuff and make Jesus the consolation. This world has a way of fooling us into thinking that this is the most important part of our eternal journey.

In the last couple of days, I’ve been dwelling on Chris Caine’s words in light of something I saw on social media. As I was stalking checking out the page of a friend of a friend, I came across a statement that someone said that read, “Fight for the happiness you deserve.” That was interesting to me. This idea of deserving happiness should be a struggle for anyone who knows the Gospel. I’m about to step on some toes.

In the book of James (one of my favorites for daily living and how to do it well), the writer states in the first chapter that we should consider it pure joy when we face trials of any kind. I know what you’re saying. Girl, you don’t know my trials. How can you possibly ask me to have joy in my trials. Let’s get something straight from the beginning. Joy and happiness are two very different things. Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is static. Where does perfect joy come from? Perfect joy comes from Jesus.

Nowhere in Scripture will you find a promise of happiness. Look into it for yourself. You will, however, find a promise of complete and unsurpassable joy in the living Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like circumstantial deals. My happiness can come and go, but my joy in my Jesus will be with me even as I enter into His eternal presence.

So back to the happiness we deserve. When did we human people decide that we deserve anything but the wages of sin (Romans 6:23)? We can’t boast of anything. We’ve done nothing on our own. We simply cannot without God and His immeasurable grace. We deserve only eternal torment. But because He is good, because He is sovereign, our God reaches into the depths of the pit and lifts us out into marvelous light. Friends, if we DESERVED anything, what need would we have in Jesus? What good would the victory of the Cross have done? God did not wrap Himself in human flesh to suffer and die and rise again for no reason. He came because we deserved hell. How can we boast in arrogance that we deserve happiness?

This is what I know: happiness is just extra that our gracious Father desires to lavish on us.

Please don’t hear me say that I do not want everyone to experience happiness. But do hear me say that happiness isn’t given to us because we deserve it. Happiness is given to us because our Creator God loves us enough to want us to have it. It is His immense joy that we should be happy. After all, the Word tells us in Zephaniah 3:17 that God Himself REJOICES over us with gladness! This beautiful act of reciprocity is only one that an immeasurable God who is Love personified could give. In Him, we find joy. In us, He finds joy.

Please. Let’s pray for each other that we would find Christ sufficient, and that we would not search frivolously for things of this alien world to make us happy. Happiness is fleeting. Happiness should not be our goal. Eternal joy in a risen Savior is our highest goal.

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