Something God has been speaking to me about a lot over the past year is my purpose. It’s not as complicated as I thought it would be. It’s not as glamorous as I’ve hoped it would be. It’s not as mysterious as I assumed it would be. It’s not as boring as I’ve worried it would be.
My purpose is incredibly simple. It’s utterly beautiful. It’s completely fulfilling. And I’m convinced it is your purpose too…
To be eternally happy in Jesus.
That’s it! It’s not some big chore. It’s not some complicated process. It’s not self-glorifying and glamorous. It’s not inaccessible and frustrating. It’s simple and beautiful and fulfilling.
Psalm 16:11 says…
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The Lord has been speaking this over me for a little more than a year now and I have to tell you - it has challenged my doctrine and the belief system I’ve carried for a long time. I’d spent most of my life believing that happiness is fine and dandy, but it’s secondary to holiness. I’d come to view the pursuit of happiness as self-serving and a form of idolatry. My mentality was that my lack of happiness could be worn as a sort of spiritual badge. “Look at me. I’m not completely, incandescently happy and that means I’m not a self-indulgent idolater.” Really what that says is, “I love God so much that I’m not happy! I serve God so much that I’m not happy! I spend so much time with God that I’m not happy!”
What a TERRIBLE testimony to the character and heart of our Lord - the CREATOR of happiness! And where in the world does it say anything like that in the Bible?
Let me tell you something the Lord taught me…
Happiness in Jesus is the only path to true holiness.
If you come out of time spent with Jesus and you’re still grumpy, I wonder, did you really meet with Jesus? Oh I’m not saying you didn’t read the Word! I’m not saying you weren’t just praying. But were you WITH Jesus all that time or were you working through the actions of holiness without the heart of happiness?
When Jesus becomes our everything - our hopes, our dreams, our passion, our fulfillment, our source of love and acceptance, our source of empowerment and transformation, our confidence and assurance - why wouldn’t we be happy? And the happiness in being near the Lord, the Creator of the Universe who spoke the stars into existence and still thought the world needed YOU - gives us the desire to please him and allow him to transform us into a holy people!
John Piper shares an excellent illustration for this concept. I’ll do my best not to butcher it…
Imagine if your spouse showed up at your door this evening after work and rang the doorbell instead of walking straight in. When you answer the door, he is standing there in his best suit with a bouquet of your favorite flowers and asks you on a date with him tonight. He says he has the kids taken care of, all the details are planned, all you have to do is go get dressed. If you were to ask, “Why? What made you go to all this trouble?” And he were to answer, “Well it’s my duty as your husband to do the right things. It’s my job. So I’m fulfilling my obligation as your husband to do nice things for you,” would that just let the air out of the room? That would kill the romance for me. But what if he were to answer, “Because nothing makes me happier than to see you smile and to watch your heart overflow! I am happiest when I make your heart glad! There is nothing more fulfilling to me than to bring you pleasure, my dear.”
Would you think that was a selfish answer? Is that the wrong motivation? No way! It’s the same way with us and God. Are we obeying and growing in holiness because it’s our role as His child? Because it’s our duty as a Christian? Because we are supposed to?
Or are we obeying God and growing in holiness because nothing is more fulfilling and nothing makes our heart happier than to see the Father happy! To bring pleasure to God!
Okay, I’m not saying any of this to cause marriage problems for you so, remember your spouse is human - they are NOT JESUS - and you GET to be the love of Jesus to them. This story really isn’t about them. It’s about us. So let’s refocus on us and Jesus (because I know some of us ladies struggle here…)
Do you want to get to that place with Jesus? I know I do. Can I share with you a few things I’ve learned along the way while on this journey with the Lord over the past year?
If our purpose is to be eternally happy in Jesus - how do we fulfill that purpose when we just aren’t happy? In my uneducated opinion, when we are unhappy it’s because we have some areas of our lives out of alignment and it’s wearing our heart down which is going to cause a blowout eventually (did you catch my subtle tire analogy there? I just had some car work done and learned a couple things…)
Here are the three places to check for alignment issues:
When I am unhappy, the vast majority of time, it is because I am focused on crummy circumstances, painful relationships, frustrations at home or work, and am generally discontented with my life.
My husband has a practice with our children that I’ve come to adopt for myself. When one of our kids starts to flip their lid and lose control or get super negative, my husband sits them down and gently asks them to list 3-5 (depending on how emotional things are) things they are thankful to God for. Usually they don’t want to do it at first; they want to stay mad or sad. Isn’t that just like us though? We get to our pity party and don’t want the party to end, probably because it’s justifying our bad behavior (ouch!) and we don’t want to own up to our poor choices. Anyway - once the kids start listing things that they are grateful for, it never fails, by about 2 or 3 in the list, smiles start to creep over their faces and they can finish the list with giggles.
It may take more than 2 or 3 on your list because, let’s face it, being a grown up is a little more complicated than being a kid. But maybe that’s why Jesus told us we need to have childlike faith to enter the kingdom. We need to quit overanalyzing and nuancing every single issue in our lives. IT’S MAKING US MISERABLE, SIS! Let’s just keep it simple. We have so much to be thankful for and it’s time to refocus our eyes and hearts to our gratitude list and start reaching smiles and giggles by 2 or 3!
This one is hard. I know. But sometimes we just aren’t happy because we aren’t willing to let go of our stuff and say YES to God. This is a trust issue. When we struggle to hand things over to God it is because there is a part of our heart and mind that just doesn’t believe He can handle it, that He’ll do the right thing, that He is for us - not against us. We don’t trust Him.
Do you know how to overcome this? There are 2 steps to overcoming here… that’s it. Here they are:
If you aren’t happy, there’s a good chance you aren’t spending much time in His presence. You may be spending time reading the Bible - you can read the Bible and miss that this is the very voice of God speaking his love over you right in that moment. You may be praying - we can talk to God and forget to listen to His precious voice speaking truth over us and breaking off every lie we have chosen to believe. You may be going to church - we can attend church and miss God’s Spirit moving and speaking and ready to heal in the room.
Get in His presence with a heart to see Him, hear Him, and know Him. And if we do it looking for Him to DO something for us rather than just to BE with us - we may miss Him. I have found that when my heart is just to be near to God, not to have him fix all my problems, his very presence is enough. I don’t need answers. I don’t need problems gone. I don’t need finances restored. I don’t need relationships perfect. I just need His presence and that is ENOUGH for my heart. That is where I’m fulfilled. Not because he fixes my problems - which he does that sometimes - but because his presence fills my heart and that’s what I really am needing.
So sister, what is out of alignment in your heart today? What is keeping you from stepping into the fullness of joy only found in His presence? What needs to adjust so that you can live out your true purpose and be eternally happy in Jesus?
Lord Jesus, we know that You alone fill all our holes and gaps. You alone put healing salve on deep, deep wounds. You alone give hope everlasting. You alone give beauty for ashes and joy for mourning. I pray for my sisters today who aren’t happy. For sisters who are hurting and struggling. For my tired and weary sisters. For my brokenhearted sisters. For my sisters who are angry and the ones who are afraid. You are the lifter of heads so we call on You to fulfill your Word and lift their heads up to you and your glorious face right now, Jesus. Just looking into your face changes everything, Lord. We need YOU. Help us to know that. Bring us that revelation in our minds and our hearts. That YOU are the answer - not what you can do - but who YOU are. We want to be eternally happy in YOU Jesus. Show us where you are ready to bring an alignment in our hearts and we’ll submit that to you Jesus. Help us to trust you. We believe… would you help us with our unbelief? We know you are good, you are faithful, you are loving, you are redeemer, you are hope and salvation. Remind us of that truth now, Lord, as we draw close to you today.
written by: lyndsay terry
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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