“If it makes you happy; it can’t be that bad.” Not only are these lyrics from a popular song by Sheryl Crow, but they represent the mantra of a society in constant search of the next new thing that will make them comfortable and happy. How often do you hear someone say, “I just want to be happy,” or the question asked, “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?” This is an ideology that leads to emptiness and heart break. It quickly segues into the idea that if something doesn’t make me happy, it must be wrong, and God has failed me. People walk away from God for many reasons, here are a few: “I tried church, but it didn’t make me any happier.” “Religion didn’t work.” “I read my Bible but my marriage still fell apart.” “I wasn’t better off financially.” I’m still dealing with this illness.” “I tried God, but it didn’t work.” Is the idea here that God should be serving them, instead of them serving God? This is a sad and destructive path. God is concerned about our lives; he is concerned about our holiness. When we truly seek him, he brings joy and blessing into our lives!

Scriptures – Pr 16:25; 1 Pe 1:15; 1 Jn 2:15-17; 2 Co 9:8; Jn 16:33; Ph 4:7; Js 1:2-4; Ps 37:4; Mt 6:33; Ps 97:12

Verse
May all who are godly be happy in the Lord and crown him, our holy God. (Ps 97:12) There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Pr 6:25) But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do. (1 Pe 1:15) Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps 37:4) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Mt 6:33)

Thought
The idea that, “If it makes me happy, it can’t be that bad” can lead to stupid and sinful actions with devastating consequences. Something may seem like a good idea, a way to be happy; but it’s all fun until someone shoots their eye out, ruins their reputation, blows up their marriage or destroys a valued relationship. Eating cake may make you happy, but the whole cake isn’t good for you. Your job may be stressful and difficult, but quitting without another job is folly and could end in financial ruin. Dabbling in porn as entertainment will mess up your mind and prevent a meaningful, real relationship. A follower of Christ is called to a higher standard. God doesn’t want you to seek happiness based on the things of this world. You don’t have to watch tv for very long to realize there are many things that promise happiness and comfort, and you deserve it! All you have to do is make a purchase and you’ll achieve instant gratification. When happiness is based on things and happenings, it is a never-ending chase. Things grow old and dull and uninteresting. Once the happy feeling wanes, you pitch it, trade it, upgrade, change jobs, and even sacrifice relationships for the next happy thing. God wants to have a relationship with you that will be a daily and continual blessing in your life. He wants to give you peace, comfort, joy and hope. These are lasting and provide strength to face whatever comes your way. Don’t allow the quest for happiness to side track you. Seek God’s Kingdom and his righteousness. He will give you more than you could ever hope for or imagine, and it will not fade. It is eternal.

Questions
What have you chased in life that didn’t deliver as you had hoped? What have you observed in others that reflects the “chase” of worldly happiness? What shiny thing can easily distract you? How do God’s non-material blessings rate in comparison to material things? Why is that answer easy to say but hard to comprehend?

Response
Consider what you are pursuing with your time, talents and treasures. If it’s worldly things, momentary highs and thrills, it’s time to make a change. How much would your relationship with God grow if you spent some of that time pursuing his ways, his righteousness? Write down some things you can do to pursue God’s plan for your life, and put them into practice.

Prayer
Gracious Lord, thank you for the blessings you hold in store for those who seek you and strive to follow you with a humble heart. Keep me on the path to everlasting blessings, peace and joy in Christ. Your way is the way to contentment. Guide me each step of the way. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.