Every Day Light
Happiness is a by-product
"' in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (v. 11, Amplified Bible)
For reading & meditation:
Having seen the importance of differentiating between goals and desires, we return to the thought that we can experience happiness only as a by-product. If we make obtaining happiness a goal, it eludes us like a will-o'-the-wisp, but if we give up the chase and hold it only as a desire, then it takes up residence in our heart. Let me repeat: there is nothing wrong in wanting to be happy; it is a natural and valid desire. But the paradoxical truth is that I will never be happy if I am primarily concerned with becoming happy. My overriding goal in every circumstance must be to respond biblically, to put the Lord first and seek to behave as He would want me to. The wonderful truth is that as we devote our energies to the task of becoming what Christ wants us to be - righteous - He responds by filling us with unutterable happiness and joy. I must, therefore, firmly and consciously by an act of the will, refuse to make obtaining happiness my goal, and instead adopt the goal of becoming more like the Lord. An obsessive preoccupation with "happiness" will obscure our understanding of the biblical route to eternal peace and joy. And what is that route? Our text for today tells us: "At Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore." It follows that if we are to experience those pleasures, then we must learn what it means to be at God's right hand. Paul tells us that Christ has been exalted to God's right hand (Eph. 1:20). Can anything be clearer? The more we abide in Christ, the more we shall experience true happiness.
O God, forgive us that we have made the pursuit of happiness our goal, and the pursuit of righteousness merely a desire. Help us to get our values straightened out, and to set the goal of becoming more and more like You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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