Sunday, February 10, 2008

Holiness, not happiness

So the other day in Bible Study Jennifer Vidmar made a comment about the way most people view God vs. the way He really is. We were talking about how lots of people think that a "good" God wouldn't let bad things happen to people. And Jennifer said...

"God doesn't care about our happiness, He cares about our holiness."

There are things that God allows us to endure because they will shape us into men and women who look more like Him. We probably won't enjoy the process, but it is the end result that He sees.

Tonight I heard a quote on TV that struck me in contrast to this. A father commented that, "As long as my kids are happy, I am happy." I've heard other parents voice similar desires. But there are some problems with this thinking...

For one, it puts your own happiness in someone else's control. Happiness, contentedness, is a choice we all have and should exercise no matter the circumstances. You shouldn't hinge your joy on anyone other than God.

This thinking also leads your children to believe that their happiness is the most important thing in the world. It teaches them to be self centered and concerned primarily with what makes them happy instead of what is good, right, and true. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't make us feel happy.

This idea also fails to teach kids what to do when things don't go according to their plan. If their happiness is all that matters, then what are they to do when life brings them unhappiness?

I hope, as I raise our daughter, that I remember that it is not her happiness that matters, but her holiness. I hope she learns from me that trials are given and allowed for the sanctification process and that contentment is a choice in every situation. I hope she grows to find her joy in the Lord and not in what the world has to offer.

For it is not her happiness that He seeks, but her holiness.

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