I once saw a shirt that had the words be happy crossed out, and underneath it said be holy. Our society places such a high value on doing things that make us happy, we don’t realize that what makes us happy sometimes doesn’t make us whole. It doesn’t push us to be better people. It doesn’t push us closer to God, in fact it has the opposite effect. And if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves happy and in hell.
Watching TV makes me very happy. I could sit for hours and watch show after show, and I’m not even talking about a Netflix series; I mean just plain ole TV. It’s one thing to have a lazy day or two, but I take DAYS at a time (don’t judge me lol). As happy as that makes me, by day eight, I usually ask myself “would God be happy with this?” And it’s not as though I feel like I should be out feeding the homeless or going down to the church and tarrying or doing some other “super christian” thing, but how about I just clean up or I do some lesson planning. All of this is part of being a good steward of what God gave me (Matthew 25:21). It’s a part of being holy.
So often we think of being holy as walking around speaking in tongues, fasting day and night, spending countless hours reading our bible. All of those things are good, but what about your conversations with people? What about your conversations with yourself about yourself? What about how you treat people? What about your alone time? What about your down time? The scripture says be holy, for I am holy (1 Peter 1:16). Be holy, not do holy. Because it’s who you are, it should trickle into every part of your life.
Can you be happy and holy? YES, YES, YES!!! The lie the devil has sold us is you have to choose between the two. We choose between good and evil, not between happy and holy. It makes me happy to give to others. It makes me happy to encourage people. It makes me happy to accomplish goals. It makes me happy to go places and experience new cultures. It makes me happy to get dressed up and share a meal with friends. Sure you may enjoy sin in the moment, but you can enjoy pleasing God forever. When we choose God, we always choose happiness, and more specifically, joy. We may not always feel it, but understand that it’s always coming. There were many nights that I sought God for my morning when He said joy would come and it seemed like it would never get there. But I kept choosing God, and morning eventually came.
So it’s not God over happiness, it’s happiness because of God. When faced with the choice of pleasing my flesh or pleasing God, my goal is to choose God every time. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s what I’m always striving for. I’ve decided to start asking myself more consistently if what I’m doing would make God happy, and I encourage you to do the same. And your answer should be based in your knowledge and faith in God, not what everyone else is doing. Would God be happy with me scrolling through social media for two hours? Would God be happy with me getting drunk tonight? Would God be happy with me talking like this? Would God be happy with me eating this? Would God be happy with me having sex with this person? Would God be happy with me in this career? Would God be happy? Because if it makes God happy, in the end, I’ll be happy.
And just as I stated before, it’s not about always doing. God told us to rest and enjoy the fruit of our labor (Ecclesiastes 5:19-20). We just have to remember that even in our enjoying, we want God to get the pleasure out of our lives. We want to choose Him.