Summary: Why happiness does not come from putting our own happiness first, but rather by putting Christ first as Lord and Savior.
We’re beginning a new series today called The God Questions.
It’s okay to ask God questions and its okay to ask questions about God because God has the answers. That’s what we’re going to do in this new series. We’re going to try and answer some essential God questions.
The reason we’re doing this is because the answers to these questions are vital to the purpose God has for your life.
If you get the wrong answers to some of these questions you can really become disillusioned with life and miss out on what God has for you; you can miss out on God’s will – which is more important than anything in your existence. The question is not, “Where does God fit into the story of my life,” but, “Where does my life fit into the plan and purpose of God?”
A lot of people are missing out on living the wonderful will of God for their lives because they’ve accepted the wrong answer to the God questions. One extreme example would be terrorism. We often ask ourselves how can some men be so misguided that they take innocent lives in the name of their god? The answer is – because they were given wrong answers about who God is and what He’s really like.
But it’s not just military malcontents like terrorists or dictators that have the wrong answers about God. Every one of us is subject to coming to wrong conclusions about God because of the deluge of misinformation on the subject.
In our culture, we’ve been told over and over again that, either God doesn’t really exist or, if He does, the true concept of His love, grace, mercy, holiness, wisdom and power is greatly diminished. So that’s why we’re going to take several weeks and address The God Questions.
Besides, it’s not safe anymore to assume that the answers to questions about God are well known, not in post-Christian American culture. A lot of people still wrestle with the questions we’re going to tackle.
The first God question for our consideration is “Do I Need God to Be Happy?”
When people ask me this question I usually respond, “Define happiness.” Your definition of happiness will determine the answer to this question.
Happiness is one of those words that can play tricks on you. You think the meaning is very simple and yet at times it can be very complicated.
One of the people I consider to be one of the happiest guys I’ve ever met is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Yet he’s always smiling, always telling jokes, almost always in a good humor. A lot of people would say it would be impossible for them to be “happy” if similarly demobilized for the rest of their lives. That’s because to a lot of people, happiness relates to physical circumstances. But my friend Luther is genuinely happy – even though his life is drastically inconvenienced by his physical circumstances.
The definition of happiness to a lot of people has to do with their circumstances. If they enjoy relative financial ease, if they’re healthy most of the time, if they have a loving family, and if there aren’t too many serious problems in their life – then, they’re “happy.”
If that’s your definition of happiness – if happiness is living a life of relative ease - then you don’t really need a personal relationship with God – you just need your circumstances to line up in a way that satisfies you.
There is indeed a certain level of happiness you can achieve without knowing God. But knowing God makes such a huge difference. Think of it like this. Riding a tricycle seems fun to a child, but when that child grows up and drives a Porsche, the tricycle seems pretty boring. You might think you’ve got all you’d ever want out of life, but you need to realize you may be saying that from the perspective of someone riding a tricycle.
The reason a lot of people don’t sense any need for God in their life is because they basically have what they desire. They desire a life of positive circumstances that will make them happy. Some extra cash, a loving family, some friends, some fun and they’re happy.
A lot of people who have this view of happiness are just working and waiting for their circumstances to change in order to be happy. Inside they’re thinking things like: “I’ll be happy when I get a better job; when I find a husband or wife; when I strike it rich; when I get rid of these aches and pains; when my kid gets potty trained…(and any parent will tell you that that is a happy day!)”
But there are inherent problems with this concept of happiness – the concept that “happiness depends on my outward circumstances.”