Today’s Completing The Thought (CTT) post is a reaction to some disturbing trends in social media. The ideology behind the trends is nothing new, sinners are absolutely confvinced that they deserve whatever they want, that they deserve to “be happy”. The recent #ShoutYourAbortion campaign was an all-time low in American depravity, in that these unrepentant sinners shamelessly celebrate their murder and twist the narrative to paint their evil as though it was a good thing. Their proof? How happy they were. I much prefer the #ShoutYourAdoption response.
This weekend I saw something else that falls in that same vein, albeit stopping short of murder. I saw an acquaintance posted the following Facebook announcement:
This lady is not a Christian. A few years ago she and her now ex-husband jumped headlong into a cult that hosts what they call Insight Seminars. It’s a humanistic and pantheistic self-affirming cult that sometimes poses as workforce or family unity seminars. It’s a load a garbage, and the result is full-grown adults becoming infantile in their selfishness and self-actualization. Notice the hashtags. The self-absorbed can rationalize many things by declaring themselves empowered by them or somehow liberated from some form of bondage (real or imagined). Even the hashtags that seem to thank others, do so in light of what the others had done for her… which, from the text of the comment, was clearly encouraging her that she was doing the right thing by seeking her own happiness above all else. She is not alone in this. The world is filled with selfish sinners… this sin is in our fallen flesh, each and every one of us.
No, You Don’t “Deserve” to be Happy
Let’s begin with the reality of our sin. We are so depraved we don’t even have a right understanding of “good” and “happy”. These terms are grounded and defined by the very nature of God. Depending on the Bible translation you use, you could search for the word “happy” and not even find it in the New Testament. The KJV uses it a few times when translating the word makarios. In the ESV this word is translated “blessed”, and even in the KJV it is more often translated “blessed” (44x) than it is “happy” (5x). So what happens when a fallen and sinful world tries to understand a concept like “happy” with out the God who defines it? It bases “happiness” on its own desires, passions, and emotions. Let’s look at Romans 1 again.
Romans 1:18-32 (ESV) | God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
It’s that last part that gives this away. Sure, the folks celebrating their divorces and the ladies celebrating their abortions use words like “love”, “empowerment”, “peace”, and “life” they are using these words to give approval for themselves and others who practice the very things that God hates, like murder and divorce.
Okay but Christians Deserve Happiness, right?
God is the one who blesses… and He chooses who to bless according to Grace and Mercy. Dear sinner, what do you DESERVE?
Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) | By Grace Through Faith
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Wrath is what we deserve. No, this isn’t an exaggeration for effect, this is the plain Truth. Our sin has earned us (deserved) the Wrath of God. This is the Law. Thankfully, there is more than the Law, for where the Law brings death, the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings Life. Let’s continue in Eph 2:
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Dear Christian, if your salvation was by God’s grace, a gift of mercy, then where do we ever get the notion that we DESERVE anything more? We get that from our still-sinful flesh, not from the Word of God.
What About the Promises of God?
Okay, so if we’ve properly destroyed the misuse of the word “deserve”, there remains many who make unsubstantiated claims to the Promises of God. What is the Promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Resurrection in Christ Jesus.
Titus 1:1-4 (ESV) Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
When it comes to focusing on the Promise of Salvation, the focus needs to be firmly fixed in the future, the Day of His Return or the Day of our release from these fleshly bodies. We have been promised comfort in our struggles by the Grace of God and His Holy Spirit, but that is not mean we will live miraculous lives free from pain, hunger, or persecution.
2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (ESV) | God of All Comfort
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
We don’t live according to what we DESERVE; rather, we live by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Emotional “happiness” will come and go. It is foolish to live your life chasing an emotion. As we see in Romans 1, mankind rejected the Creator and was given over to their desires and passions and a depraved mind. As Christians, we are to put to death what is fleshly in us on a daily basis. The Happiness we pursue must be by faith, not by sight/emotion/circumstance. We seek the blessing of the Lord that comes only by faith in Christ Jesus. Pray for the lost that their eyes and ears will be opened to the Truth, so that they might repent and trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save them in the Last Day.
In Christ Jesus,