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The Seduction of Happiness

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

I am sure you have felt it. Prayer becomes chore. Reading the Bible feels tedious. Worship turns into a necessary activity we are obligated to participate in.

I think spiritual boredom arises from a quest for happiness versus a quest for joy. The feeling a momentary impulse brings about happiness — it’s easy and it’s quick. We don’t have to think about it. Depressed? Go see a movie. Frustrated? Go participate in a recreational past time until endorphins in good spirits down that irritating nag. This is not to say that happiness is wrong, but it falls pray to the basic rules of human sensation. Any time we seek to relive the pleasure that arose from spontaneous moment, we will not be able to gain the same satisfaction.

Happiness also has the ultimate placebo. Having a problem with a friend? A situation arising at your job that you really don’t wanna think about? As the old saying goes, “come on, get happy.” But like any placebo, even after all the symptoms may have gone away, the root of the problem still remains.

As Christians, we have bought into one of society‘s big lies. We have made happiness the end goal, living as though we are the center of the universe. With this belief, we ignore the true purpose of our existence: to glorify God. Sometimes glorifying God doesn’t make us happy. It requires us to take a look outside of ourselves and search for the most desired, yet least understood state: joy.

See Also

Joy demands a bit of effort. It asks that I be satisfied with God‘s sovereign working in my life. It doesn’t offer the same short term emotional pay off that happiness does, but ultimately a change is near at the foundational level. Joy results from the obedience that arises from my understanding and appreciation of God’s holiness and love. It happens when I enter into prayer cold, yet later arise changed by spent time with him confessing, arguing and ultimately submitting.

The times when we are bored with God are the times when we are concerned about momentary stimuli, moving from entertainment to entertainment like a honeybee from flower to flower. God doesn’t desire that we live for the moment, but rather that we live for eternity.

Dig Deeper:

Take a good look at what you spend your day is longing for: the passing excitement of happiness or the sustaining pleasure of joy. Meditate on Psalm 39:7, John 12:25 in Romans 12:2.

Prayer:

God, how can I be so wrapped up in the moment that I miss the eternal? I don’t want to live in such a short sighted view. Help me to be wrapped up in the joy only you bring.

RELEVANT’s “Deeper Walk” daily devotionals are presented by the LUMO Project, a visual translation of the four Gospels developed to engage people with scripture in a new way. You can watch the videos—which redefine the standard of visual biblical media—on YouTube, and find out more about LUMO’s mission at their website.

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