Summary: This sermon deals with the reality, Christians have a right to be obedient, not a right to be happy. The video and audio is available at www.glenvillenewlife.com
My Right To Be Happy
Have any of you seen the commercial on tv in which they shout the words, “you want it all, you want it all, and you want it right now.” The words behind those words, are you have a right to be happy, and you’ve got a right to be happy right now. How many of you have heard people say before making a decision, “well don’t I have a right to be happy/.” This right has led to people walking out on their families, it has led to people falling addicted to cocaine, it has led people into a huge pile of debt, and it has brought a lot of pain and heartache into the lives of others.
This idea of my right to be happy has led Christians to make the same poor choices as those who do not know Christ. I wonder if the health and wealth gospel of God wanting you to have everything you want now so that you can be happy has helped Christians justify making decisions that are contrary to the word of God. Did you know that teens in the church report having sex just as much as teens outside the church? Did you know that divorce rate in the church with elders and pastors is running at about the same rate as divorce out of the church? Where is our commitment to follow Christ in all of this?
If only we could pull closer together the idea of my right to be happy, with the consequences that result from making the choices, we’d probably be able to think more clearly. For instance if the credit card commercial sponsoring the commercial you want it and you want it now, would also flash what the ultimate price tag will be with their 24% interest charges, late fees and more that you be paying in the future for the next 10, we just might think twice, before paying 3 times the amount an item originally cost and wait to get it or do without it altogether.
There is not a right in the constitution to be happy. There is a phrase in the Declaration of Independence, that speaks of the “pursuit of happiness.” But if you go pursuing making yourself happy, you end up being selfish and inconsiderate of others. There is no right in the Bible to be happy. God never says, come follow Jesus and become happy. Some of us as preachers may have lied and said that, But God’s word never did. Take a closer a look at the lives of the saints, and you will discover that God interrupted their happiness in order to fulfill His plans for their lives.
Think about Abraham and Sarah for a moment. God gave them a promise that they were going to have a child. Abraham was 75 at the time. But the child was not born until he was 99 years old. It took almost 25 years for it to happen. How many of you know they were happy to see their child Isaac born. Sarah was as proud as she could be. Abraham was boasting to everybody he met.
And then God says to Abraham, take your son, the one you love, and go offer him as a sacrifice to me. Can you imagine how that upset his happiness? God you’ve got to be joking right. But it was no joke. Abraham was not at all happy, but he chose to be obedient. He surrendered his desire for happiness, to the will of God for his life and in the process gained one of the greatest discoveries of his life. He learned that God provides for us in our real times of need. He was willing to trade his happiness for a true relationship to God.
Let me ask you today, how willing are you to trade in your personal happiness, for a genuine relationship with God. Jesus told his disciples once that “look, if you cannot deny yourself, then you cannot be my disciple.” To deny ourselves something only happens by giving up our right to be happy. The only people who can grow spiritually are disciples of Christ. It’s not enough to be a church goer. People were going to church like places and temples look before Jesus came and they were still lost.
Jesus did not come to simply get us to come into a building once or twice a week and drop of a small donation. He came to engage us into a relationship in which we are to be changed. If your life is not changing, then I question if you are really walking with Jesus Christ. We are to be known by the fruit we are bearing. By life changing, I mean you’re thinking differently about the world, about life, and about choices you make to respond in given situations. Walking with Jesus is all about changing attitudes and having our minds renewed.