1 Peter 1:15 reads:
“But just as he who called you is happy, so be happy in all you do…”
The version you use may insert the word “holy” rather than “happy.” If it does, then congratulations, you have the right version. Because Peter wasn’t focusing on earthly happiness here. He was focusing on holiness because holiness is a much higher calling.
I’ve heard it over and over again, and maybe you have too.
- A man is unhappy in his marriage, so he leaves his wife and family.
- A teen-age boy and girl are engaged in a sexual relationship.
- A man is engrossed in a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol.
- A woman is involved with another woman in a homosexual relationship.
And what I hear so often from the ones living out these various scenarios is the line, “It’s ok. God just wants me to be happy.”
Here’s the deal: We want happiness, and we want God to sign off on it. So, we justify our happiness by believing the lie. Our tragic mistake is that we have made happiness the goal, and we can justify anything, any behavior, just by claiming that our strategy is ultimate happiness. Even in matters of religion, we have made happiness the goal.
God didn’t create you for worldly pleasure. He created you for something far greater. He created you to experience joy, not happiness. I’ve heard parents say, “I just want my child to be happy.” That’s a shame because happiness is such a superficial, empty emotion. Happiness is based on happenings. It’s based on mood and circumstances. It’s selfish and self-centered. It’s conditional. The irony of it all is that the more diligently you pursue happiness, the harder it is to attain. We’ll never be satisfied seeking happiness in worldly things. The things we pursue guarantee that we won’t be satisfied. Computers get faster and better all the time. Clothes become outdated. Cars have new features added yearly. Where is the point where we can stand up and say, “Now I have it all! I am completely satisfied!” That day will never come because there will always be something newer, bigger, and better to pursue. We need to be pursuing something deeper, something more profound, something bigger than ourselves.
The goal is not happiness. The goal is HIM. Paul illustrates this in Philippians 3:7-11 where he writes:
7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:7-11).
Don’t pursue happiness. Pursue God. Because when you pursue God, and a relationship with Him, you experience something much more profound. You experience true joy.