Holiness Or Happiness?

By J. J. Turner

    Some religion in America depicts happiness as a major goal of the Christian life. But a study of the Bible reveals that happiness is a by-product of doing and being the things that glorify God. As children of God we are called to holiness, not happiness.

    Peter wrote: "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of [life]" (1 Pet. 1:15). In quest for holiness a person finds happiness in serving the living God.

    According to Jesus (Matt. 5:1-12), real happiness comes after a person has developed the proper attitude toward himself, God, his fellowman, and circumstances. Happiness is the result of trusting God without reservation (Heb. 11:6).

    Happiness is not merely fulfilling the desires of the human heart; it is the blessedness of being right with God and one’s neighbor. Happiness comes from giving, not from getting (Acts 20:35).

Taking up the Cross

    True religion centers in the abandonment of self (Matt. 16:24), and taking up a cross and following Christ. Seeking first the kingdom of God is the new priority of the believer (Matt. 6:33). Those who dedicate themselves to this way of life are the blessed people in this world.

    The cross is a symbol that the Christian has not gained the world, but has chosen the path of His Master, which may mean the loss of those things that comfort the flesh (Phil. 3:7). Living by faith is a declaration of trust in God and His promises. It is subjecting my will to His will, and when I do this, blessedness flows through my soul.

    In a world of selfishness and religious confusion, it is difficult to return to the sacred challenge of worshipping God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). A renewal of mind and a return to the Scriptures will bring us back to the road of real happiness (Rom. 12:1-2).

    Some religionists in America have made the church into a "spiritual supermarket" where self-centered people, focusing on selfish goals, may come to get their fondest wishes met. Christianity has been turned into consumerism; piety has been traded for prosperity; the cross has been exchanged for comfort; and "my will be done" instead of "His will be done" is the vogue.

    A return to one’s first love is the only guarantee of happiness (Rev. 2:4-5). God has called us to holiness.