Spiritual Warfare Prep

Spiritual Warfare Prep
We Are In The Lord's Army

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is God Primarily Concerned With Your Happiness or Your Holiness?

Is God more concerned about our happiness, or is He more concerned about our becoming holy? There is a reason I am asking this question. Depending upon which Christian camps you come from will determine which answer you choose for this question.

There seems to be a trend in Christian thinking today, that leads me to believe that many do not understand God's attribute of holiness. The main reason I am thinking about this right now, is that there are many famous 'Christian' people who have gone through divorces, and also marriage counseling. The issue seems to go something like this:
Christian: "I want a divorce from my spouse."
Counselor: "Why do you want a divorce?"
Christian: (Two different answers, which tie in with each other come up) "I don't love my spouse anymore." or "I am not happy in our marriage".
The counselor agrees with the 'Christian' and gives consent for divorce. 

Does God's word tell us to seek our own 'happiness'? If we are not happy in a marriage, is that a valid reason to get a divorce? Listen to what one authority says about marriage:

"Now I know that the subject of divorce is a very contentious one among Christians, especially those of the evangelical variety.  So I will put in my two cents’ worth, and then I will open the floor for discussion.
Let’s start with this:  Divorce is contrary to the will of God.  The clear teaching of Scripture is that the Lord hates divorce.
However, we live in a fallen world.  Marriages fail.  Even among Christians who seek to honor God and take His word seriously.
There are many reasons why marriages fail.  Sometimes they fail because of selfishness on the part of one or both of the people involved.  Sometimes they fail because of reasons that are much more graphic and poignant, i. e. adultery, abandonment, emotional or even physical abuse.
And sometimes marriages fail because the people involved are mismatched personality-wise.  They are just not a good fit for each other.  They may try to make such a marriage work, and even succeed for a limited time.  But eventually it becomes clear that such a marriage cannot continue without doing serious violence, emotionally and/or spiritually, to one or both of the people involved."*
What? Such a marriage cannot continue without doing serious violence, to one of both of the people involved? That's like saying, 'we shouldn't build relationships with other people because we will probably get hurt by them at some point." 
Relationships are messy. Marriage is hard. Life was never intended to be easy. It's like we get a math problem or a jigsaw puzzle every day that we have to solve or finish. We were never intended to be free from challenges or hard situations. That doesn't mean we give up in them and don't ask God for help. Sometimes, difficulties get resolved. But sometimes, God just gives grace and wisdom in difficulties. 
The Bible talks about relationships as iron sharpening iron. Although there is happiness in good relationships, God has something deeper He wants to do in our hearts, and it could involve pain or suffering. Difficulties help us grow spiritually. We cannot be spiritually healthy if we don't grow. We will feel growing pains. That is normal. But what God wants to do, is to conform us to the image of His Son. If we are to represent Him accurately, we must resemble His Son, and that takes spiritual growth and maturing for us. Those things might not make us happy. But, God promises to be with us, and if we receive His grace, we will be filled with His joy. 
God does not necessarily want us to be unhappy. But the point of our lives is that we will live lives that will glorify Him. If we seek our own happiness, we are missing the point of what He is doing in us. Simply speaking, we are in idolatry. 
God promises to meet our needs. He blesses us with what we need. We will end up missing God's blessings and provision if we seek happiness instead of Him. That is where I think many are missing the boat. Even Christian authority figures don't seem to understand this concept. 
When we come to Christ, and are converted, we are changed. The Bible says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. We also receive a new heart. It is a heart that can actually love God. It is a heart that loves spiritual things from God. We also receive the Holy Spirit and now we have the power of God to live a new life in a new way. But there is more. When we are born again, we are like spiritual babies in a spiritual nursery called the church. We feed our souls on God's word, and His word becomes activated in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and we grow spiritually. We mature spiritually. The process is called, 'sanctification', and it will continue until our death. 
Those who seek happiness instead of holiness will miss the process of sanctification. They are being cheated out of getting the good, rich spiritual food that comes from Scriptures. They are missing the power of the Holy Spirit giving them the ability to live a new life in a new way. They are missing the new heart God wants them to have. 
Instead of getting to know God in a deeper way, they become frustrated and blame God for the out of order life they are living. Essentially, they believe in a god that is supposed to make them happy. They know very little about the God who is concerned with making us holy.
(The author of the article I quoted from asked for some feedback/discussion. I commented my thoughts. I haven't heard back concerning them). 
* Joe Derbes
Recommended books:   
*Relationships-A Mess Worth Making (Tripp/Lane)  
*When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage (Dave Harvey)
*Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Resources for Changing Lives)  (Paul David Tripp)

*Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations (Brett Harris)

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