Too many Christians today think that happiness in life is the sole purpose for our decisions. God didn’t call us to be happy but rather to be disciples. True disciples live according to principle and not per their circumstance. The Apostle Paul fully understood this concept. He didn’t rest his purpose in life on being happy-at least not according to the world’s standards as do many Christians today. ‘Doing what makes you happy’ or ‘looking out for yourself because no one else will’ type sayings are not Biblical-they are simply a perverted form of the Gospel-an American Gospel if you will, that really is no Gospel at all. Paul knew the true secret of being happy and it didn’t lie in his circumstances. He considered all things a loss simply for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ! (Phil 3:7-8)
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” -Phil 4:12,13-
Our lives are to first and foremost glorify Christ, putting our own fleshly desires second. As we set our gaze heavenward, fix our eyes on Jesus and seek first the kingdom of God, our hearts will find joy-not necessarily because of our situation-but rather because of the peace of God in our hearts-a peace that only comes from the Holy Spirit and from out utmost trust and faith in Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus Himself is our peace. It’s our relationship with Him that brings us peace.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Phil 4:6,7-
Paul, as an Apostle for Christ, definitely did not live the life of ease and happiness-not as we define it today at least. His constant struggles, persecutions, beatings and sufferings are littered all throughout the New Testament writings. His heart was set on the Lord’s call on his life and seeing God’s kingdom established here on Earth-seeing men and women brought to the Lord and raised as disciples of Christ.
We too are disciples of Christ-all of us with a plan and purpose from the Lord. Let us then encourage one another in the Lord to stay the course, to set our minds and hearts on things above and to pray for our God’s desires to be our desires. As we do this, we will discover what true joy is-not joy based on this world and what it can offer us but a joy based on our relationship with Jesus Christ!
Nehemiah 8:10 states ‘The joy of the Lord is my strength’
…the American dream and being a disciple of Christ are not the same thing. Choose to be a disciple of Christ.