Satisfied: be happy.

[The blog post is part of a series based on a course called Satisfed]

About a year ago I got this comment on my blog:

…I can’t imagine anyone who knew nothing of christianity reading your posts and thinking “that seems amazing, I’d love to be that satisfied with life and at peace with the world!”. It comes off like an advertisement for being abjectly miserable, oppressively guilty and constantly confused about your every act and thought.

It broke my heart to read, but if I’m honest he was right.  I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point happiness and Jesus became enemies in my heart.

Ever since that stupid apple incident in the Garden, Satan’s plan of attack has been the same: he has devoted himself to convincing believers that God doesn’t care if we are happy.  He has tried to convince us that our pleasure is pretty low on God’s list of priorities.

He is wrong.

It’s God, not Satan, who has the market cornered on pleasure and joy.  It’s God, not Satan, who is interested in making you happy.

Make no mistake – God’s highest priority is His glory (the display to the universe of who He really is).  He is unwilling to sacrifice His own glory in order to give us what we think will make us happy.

But also know this:  He receives most glory when we find all of our joys and happiness in Him.  That means that our true happiness is absolutely top of His list, because when we are happy in Him – He is most clearly seen.

It honors a husband when his wife enjoys him.  In the same way, our desire to be happy is meant to lead us to God, terminate on Him and testify to the world that God is the greatest treasure in the world.  Shouldn’t we – who have tasted His sweetness – be the ones proclaiming at the top of our lungs that He is indeed the key to all joy and happiness?

I know it sounds scary to care about your own happiness.  Satan and our flesh have been teaming up for years to exploit our happiness hunger to lure us away from God and seek pleasure in the things of the world.  We’re afraid of our longing for joy because we’ve seen it lead us astray.

But the calling on our lives is to want more joy, more pleasure; to refuse to settle for the pathetic and petty joy held out by the world because we know where the fountain of true happiness is found.

Satan may be right that sexual sin will offer you minutes of pleasure, but God says that He offers pleasures forevermore.  I never was much of a math person, but I think forevermore is a lot longer than a couple of minutes.  God calls us to obedience by promising to satisfy our happiness hunger.  He promises us fullness of joy.  That sounds better than anything I’ve experienced from the world.

God will match the world promise for promise and He will win every time.  Whatever pleasure offered by sin cannot compete with either the duration and depth of the pleasure found in the presence of God.

Our desire for happiness runs too deep to be quenched by anything but God.

That sounds great.  Really.  But I have to admit that every time I have heard someone teach on this, my heart has felt a twinge of doubt. If my heart is made with a certain God-shaped hole that only Jesus can fit, Then why doesn’t He always seem to fit?  If Jesus is designed to make me happier, then why doesn’t He?

Jesus stands ready to answer:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

Jesus says: Hey – Spend spend your WHOLE life on eternal things.  Why?  Because where you invest, that’s where your heart will be.

Listen to your sweet Savior: I know you want to be satisfied; I know you want to be happy in Me.  So here’s the plan – spend your life on Me and your heart is going to catch up eventually.

We spend ourselves on temporal things and therefore we long for temporal things.

I currently find more pleasure in relationships than God, but that’s not because relationships are better than God.  It’s because I’ve spent most of my life investing time, money, thoughts and energy on relationships.  My heart has followed.  Wherever you invest, that’s where your joy will be.

As long as I invest in the temporary my happiness will hit a ceiling.  Because the world cannot offer the fullness of joy, the pleasures forevermore that are held in the right hand of God.

Cultivate your happiness hunger.  Want more.  And run to God knowing that He is the more you want.

 

5 thoughts on “Satisfied: be happy.

  1. Fabs…I can’t help but think….I will long for food (a temporal thing) no matter what. And the less I have of it the more I will long for it. Just an example…this is something I’m struggling with. I just can’t seem to get over the experience that spending myself for Jesus doesn’t make me long for food or sex or companionship from other people any less…actually in some cases it seems to increase it.

    1. I feel the same, but I don’t think this is a bad thing. The flesh is always going to fight when we try to crucify it. This is where God gives us the opportunity to sacrifice our lives to Him even when everything else in us is telling us not to. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice!

      Another thought I’ve heard is that Satan views an obedient Christian as a threat, whereas one who is complacent and happy to indulge in the flesh isn’t much to worry about. So the more you give of yourself to God, the more you should expect to have to extinguish every dart the enemy throws at you.

  2. I’m glad you wrote this…sometimes I feel guilty for striving for happiness as a Christian. Your point about investing in God is so true…things I desire that are not godly often consume my thoughts, when it should be Him. Such a great reminder that I can choose (with immense difficulty though!) to long for Him.

  3. Fabs, I’ve been reading for a couple months now. First, I wanted to say that I really appreciate your honesty and enjoy hearing your thoughts on faith and life. This post especially struck me, though. I was talking just yesterday with a non-Christian friend, trying to define to him what happiness means for someone who’s in love with Jesus. He seemed disheartened by my saying that I am willing to do whatever God desires, whether His will is the same as mine or not. How, he seemed to be asking, could I be happy like that? It’s a difficult concept to explain, especially to someone who doesn’t know Jesus. I find your explanation really helpful.

  4. This hit close to home, especially near the end. I was afraid to ask for happiness because I was afraid of disappointment. But disappointment is actually heavenly – because it points us back to God, who is the author of joy.

    God really cares about joy and satisfaction because He is most satisfied in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Thank you for the needed reminder, Fabs! Your posts always come into my RSS feed at the most opportune times.

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