“Holiness, Happiness….or both?”
by Hannah Jacquet
“God does not exist for the happiness of man. Man exists for the holiness and glory of God.” ~ Alan Davis
Happiness is not a sin; however, happiness is not the goal. Holiness is the goal. True happiness comes when we are being intentional about worshiping Him daily. Pursuing holiness is a way of worshiping God.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1
Worshiping God includes happiness as well. Too often, people are under the misconception that happiness and holiness don’t go hand in hand. Which is not true. There are multiple times in the Bible that God mentions the importance of laughter, dancing, and joy!
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4
“Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!”
Sometimes, though, we take the search for earthly happiness too far when we make it about ourselves instead of doing what glorifies God. We see it as the most important pursuit, and even believe that our happiness is God’s highest goal for us. Have you ever found yourself idolizing a relationship, attention, or selfishness? That’s when our thinking gets confused. Our most important pursuit is holiness. That means that we are not always going to be happy, or comfortable. Just look at Jesus! He lived a holy life, and there were many times that He was neither comfortable nor happy.
“My eyes long for your promise; I ask, ‘When will you comfort me?’”
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
As Psalm 119:82 highlights, “When will you comfort me?”, we can see that the author was so uncomfortable that he was longing for God to fulfill His promise, and to comfort him. Psalm 23:4 states, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”, there is NO way that this situation is comfortable or happy in any way!
Overall, holiness does not mean experiencing happiness all the time; however, true happiness only comes from pursuing holiness. Here are some ways we can pursue holiness in our daily lives.
1. Practice an awareness of the presence of God
We know that God is always with us. He sees everything we do, he knows our thoughts, our fears, and our hopes. Remember this truth daily, so that you are regularly and actively thinking about Him which will nourish holiness in your life.
2. Stay in the Word
The God of the universe has revealed Himself to us in the Bible. The Bible makes it very clear how to live a God-honoring life. To live a holy life, we need to be in the world to see HOW we go about that.
3. Be proactive in the battle against sin
Sin is toxic. It takes root in our lives and multiplies. To be holy, we must pull it out by the roots. Be intentional about asking God to reveal your weaknesses, give you the strength to fight them, and to help you guard your heart against potential sin.
4. Make the most of trials
God uses trials and tribulations in our lives to grow our faith and strengthen our character. Everyone faces hardships in life, so when you do, lean on God and His love to get you through. This establishes holiness in our hearts.
5. Keep an eternal perspective
It is easy to let the physical things of this world cloud our minds and drive our emotions. But, if we stay focused on God’s eternal plan, we will be able to keep things in a good perspective and be able to find peace in chaos. Allowing us to strive for holiness in all situations.
Only the Holy Spirit can transform us, but we must do our part to cooperate with Him to foster holiness in our lives.