Summary: Learning about fairy tale endings.
THE TRUTH ABOUT HAPPINESS
The Happiness Trap
Take your Bibles and turn to the last chapter in the book of Cinderella. The last verse reads…”and they lived happily ever after.”
Please turn to the last chapter in the book of Sleeping Beauty. The last verse reads…”and they lived happily ever after.”
Finally, please turn to the last chapter in the book of Snow White. The last verse reads…”and they lived happily ever after.”
We all long for the fairy tale ending. We’re not asking much we just want to be able to live “happily ever after”. In my house, if Kerrie and I are watching a movie that doesn’t have a happy ending, she gets mad. She wants the fairy tale ending. We desire happiness, we long for it, we search for it, we’ve got to have it.
Our search for the fairy tale causes us to seek happiness from sources other than God.
In fact, sometimes our search actually leads us away from God and to a place of sinfulness.
A place where God is no longer at the center of our life, but has been replaced by another person, possession, pleasure or ideology. This leading away is typically a very subtle thing but over time we feel ourselves falling into the happiness trap.
It feels as though there is no way to escape.
How do we avoid falling into these happiness traps? The first thing is to know what they are.
If we can identify the trap then we can avoid falling for it.
Three Happiness Traps
The values of the world are well known and have not changed.
I John 2:15-16 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Lust of the flesh (PLEASURE); Lust of the eyes (POSSESSIONS); Pride of Life (PRESTIGE).
As we begin this let me make it clear that there is nothing inherently wrong with pleasure, possessions or prestige.
It is our attitude toward these three things that springs the trap.
Most people associated happiness with pleasure. You ask people, “What do you want out of life?”
“I want to have fun…I want to be happy…I want to feel good.” Those are all different ways of saying pleasure. We use phrases like, “if it feels good do it” or “if it doesn’t feel good avoid it.” That’s why we as a people spend billions of dollars each year on Entertainment. We have pleasure and thrill seekers everywhere.
Here’s the problem…Our flesh is never satisfied. It always wants more. That’s why we are so prone to addictions. And so if we try and find happiness by consistently given our flesh all of its desires we will eventually find ourselves deep in the happiness trap of sin.
Our culture emphasizes what we own. We judge people by their possessions (clothes, cars, homes, jewelry). Our self worth becomes based upon our net worth. Again, possessions only become a problem when we see them as the answer to our happiness problem. “If I only had….”
Buy a nice bed, but it can’t buy a good night sleep.
Buy a large house, but it can’t make it a home.
Buy the best education, but it can’t make you wise.
Buy the best doctors, but not good health.
Buy the biggest parties, but not good friends.
Buy the most extravagant vacations, but not peace in your heart.
Image is everything. We are status conscious. We look at a person who is the CEO of General Electric differently than we do the person that picks up our garbage. Advertisements appeal to this snob appeal, Like: “Do you have any Grey Poupon?” You don’t want normal French’s mustard stuff.
The media bombards us with these values – pleasure, possessions and prestige. Even Christians get seduced by it and they become our source of happiness in life. Here’s a game for you to play, its called, “What’s the value?” or “What’s the lie?” The next time you are watching TV commercials try and determine what value they are selling and what the lie associated with it is. Magazine examples
If you buy into the world’s happiness trap you will miss God’s purpose for you life.
Two Happiness Examples
The Bible provides to clear examples of how to and how not to battle the happiness traps of life.
There are a couple of constants in both examples…
The characters are tempted by the three happiness traps of the world.
There is a central character determined to spring the trap – devil.