Monday, November 7, 2016
God is not concerned about your happiness
No where in the Bible does it say (in context) that God wants you to be happy, nor does it say that He will answer all your prayers the way you want Him to, nor does it say that He will make you rich, beautiful, healthy, successful, happily married, have perfect children, and the best job. Of course maybe this will shock some of you because many of our American pastors preach exactly that.
But wait. What about verses like the following:
Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart Psalm 37:4
Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He[chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. Psalm 25:12
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matt 21:22
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2
The problem here is two-fold.
One, people pluck these verses out of context and thus instill their own meanings into them, the meaning they want them to have. We memorize them, put them on little cards we carry around, engrave them on plaques, and claim them in the name of Jesus. We treat God like some sort of genie in the bottle that if we only said the magic words, He'd have to grant our wish. (There's a big difference between this name it, claim it theology and simply proclaiming God's Word over your life)
Two God looks at things VERY differently than we do. If you read the entire Bible in context, you'll see that God is more concerned with our spiritual condition than our physical one. He didn't send His Son to suffer and die so we could be comfortable and happy in this life. He sent Jesus so we could have a relationship with God and therefore, find our way into eternity. (Where we will all find great happiness)
Quite often when God speaks of prosperity and blessing and even health in the Bible, He's speaking about your spirit, not your body. His number one concern is that our spirits are maturing and growing, day by day, and becoming more like Jesus. Remember this old physical body is just a tent that's wearing down. One day we will open the flap and our spirit beings will step out. The question is, will they be mature spirits that glow as bright as the stars or will they be infant spirits with barely a spark?
What many of us don't understand, and what God knows, is that as our spirits mature and become more like Him, we will find the joy, peace, love, success, that we are seeking. Again, those are all spiritual blessings. But you'll also find that the physical blessings will often follow.
Let's look at the verses above in context.
Psalm 37: The key to getting the desires of our hearts is to Delight in the Lord first and then allow Him to transform those desires into His desires. In other words, put God first and concentrate on Him and He will show you what He has for you in this life.
Psalm 25: Want prosperity? (body and spirit), want your kids saved? Fear the Lord. What does that mean? I could do an entire study on that, but essentially it means to love, honor, revere, to put God on the throne of your heart.
Philippians: Many people don't realize that this verse comes after Paul is praising the Philippians for their great charity and financial support toward Him. Want God to supply your needs? Give
Matthew 21: Jesus was telling this to His disciples, and he prefaced it by saying that they must have faith and not doubt. They key to this kind of faith is once again, delighting in the Lord, putting God first, obeying His Word, and spending time with Him. We all want this kind of instant faith, but we can't get it without hard work. It comes from an intimate relationship with God where we hear His voice and walk with Him daily.
3 John. Note what the Apostle John says.. "as your soul prospers" In other words, in accordance with your spiritual growth.. may you prosper and be in good health.
Does God want you to be happy? Of course He does. But not when that happiness interferes with your salvation or spiritual growth. Yet so many people I know give up on God when He doesn't answer their prayers. God may not grant you that perfect spouse because He knows you will forget Him and put that person on the throne. God may not give you perfect health because you have come to know Him intimately through the illness and He sees your spirit growing. He may not give you that job promotion or that raise because He knows money will become your God (or it be all ready). He may not give you relief in some situation because through it, He's molding you into the image of Jesus
Do you think the Apostles and the early church were all that concerned with happiness? I certainly don't get that feeling from reading the New Testament. In fact, I can't find a single Scripture where anyone is complaining about not being happy or God not answering their prayers. Paul was mostly concerned with people's spiritual growth, and many of his letters were written from prison.
God loves you more than you could ever know. And like a good parent, He wants the best for you. And that best is your spiritual growth. Because once you have that, the rest will fall into place, and He will grant you the desires of your heart!