The World and His Church
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Here you will find articles relating to the world we live in each day. You will find insightful articles that combat all the world throws at Christians, and inspiration from His recorded inspired Word, the Bible.

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God Does Not Want You to be Happy
October 9, 2019

God Does Not Want You to be Happy (At Least not in the Way You Might Believe!)

By:  Johnny O. Trail

            What is your definition of happiness?  Happiness can be defined in various ways depending upon one’s focus in life.  Worldly happiness is not often consistent with God’s word or His desire for His people.  God wants His people to be happy, but His definition of happiness is very different from the happiness that worldly minded individuals expect in life.  Happiness in Christ is, at times, very unlike the typical definition of what being happy is.

            Jesus told His followers to take up their cross and follow after Him.  Mark 8:34 says, “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  In this one passage, we see words that invoke thoughts of pain and extreme suffering.  Death on a Roman cross is a far cry from the type of happiness people in our world desire today.

            In various passages from the Bible, people are called upon to do difficult things.  In Ezra chapter ten, the people are told to leave their foreign wives.  In taking Canaanite wives, the Jews were in violation of the Old Testament Law (Nehemiah 13.27).  Thus, they were asked to do what some would view to be unthinkable—separate and leave their families while observing the commandments of law regarding divorce.  When one considers these passages, the setting and circumstances are rather striking.  Ezra 10:9-11 says, “Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain.  And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel.  Now then make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives."

            While the people were trembling in the cold rain, they were told that they had to separate from their wives and children (Ezra 10.44).  There are very few sadder passages in scripture than these.  One could not possibly believe that the Israelites were happy at the pronouncement of God regarding their sinful condition and the remedy for their transgressions.  Nonetheless, they obeyed the words of the prophet and the commandment of God.  Ezra 10:17; 19 says, “And by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women…. They pledged themselves to put away their wives, and their guilt offering was a ram of the flock for their guilt.”  When we follow God, we are commanded to give up things—things that can provide sensual, worldly pleasure (Luke 13.3,5).  This idea is further echoed in the New Testament.

            Paul lists all of the sins that the brethren at Corinth were guilty of before being “washed.”  One notes that many of these transgressions would provide large degrees of fleshly pleasure to the one who was willing to indulge himself.  I Corinthians 6.9-11 says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 

            One who has dealt with addiction and the various sensual temptations that are listed in these passages knows that people are often challenged to stop their destructive, learned behaviors.  Oftentimes a person suffering with addiction has to fight every day just to maintain sobriety or purity.  Make no mistake, it is not an easy task for many who suffer with the sins listed in the aforementioned passages, but it is not impossible.  God does not place any greater burden upon us than we can endure.  1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

            Those who call themselves “Christian” will face persecution for being a child of God.  If we suffer for sinful behavior there is no good or blessing in it, but the person suffering for the cause of Christ is blessed.  1 Peter 2:20 “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” 

            Currently, Christians in the United States are not facing the same severity of persecution that Christians around the world or in the first century faced for following Jesus.  The times seem to be changing in that regard.  Have we become so pleasure driven as a people that many will fall away in our times of challenge and despair over persecution?  The apostles counted it a joy to suffer for the cause of Christ.  Act 5:40-41 says, “And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”

            Will we feel the same way when our government tells gospel preachers that it is a “hate crime” to preach against certain sins?  Will we feel the same way when congregations loose their tax exempt status for failing to recognize or perform same sex marriages?  Will we feel the same way when we are imprisoned for teaching the truth in light of severe criminal penalties and fines for saying that certain behaviors are wrong? Will we feel the same way when we are forced to go out of business for failing to bake cakes, take pictures, or otherwise participate in activities (i.e. same sex marriage ceremonies) that are condemned in God’s word?  Will we feel the same way when our “friends” forsake us for teaching the truth even when it is very painful at times?  All people who serve Christ will face persecution! 

            Would you be a true servant of the Master?  If so, you must take up your cross and follow after Him.

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