The Pursuit of Unhappiness
Hello my 'life-long' Christians. Let's try to paint an image. Boom. You have just been born. The first few years of your life start off with nothing more than baby drool and dirty diapers. Perhaps, a few lullabies and hugs from the family, but that's pretty much your life at this point. Ok, now you've just turned 3 years old. You're talking, walking, running around like a toddler care-free. One more year left until you discover what kindergarten is. From the age of 4 to 11, these are probably the best years of your life. There are NO worries; not an idea of what stress is yet. Fast forward. You've just graduated from college/university. Real life starts. This is where the pursuit of unhappiness truly begins. Why do I refer to the pursuit of unhappiness? Easy. I could just throw the most Christian answer out there right now: “Because a life not lived for Christ is pointless”, and end this whole blog post right here & now. However, that's not what I am about. So why exactly do I say that when real life starts, that is where the pursuit of unhappiness truly begins? I say this, because we are convinced that we need this AMERICAN DREAM of a life to be happy. We are so convinced that those successes are truly what measures our worth. Well my friend, you are worth a lot more than just that. Let's dig in. THE AMERICAN DREAM
This is probably one of the most cliché things to talk about in a blog post. The AMERICAN DREAM is something we've all heard about, and probably all have heard a pastor or two speak out against. If so, good. They are doing their job. Anyways, we all have some idea about what the American dream is, and how it would look in our own specific lives. For me this is how mine would look: I would graduate college/ university at a decently young age, get a good paying job in my line of studies, and work hard & save for the first few years. After the saving, I would eventually buy a modern looking house in a suitable area. Finally, get married, buy a rental property, and have kids. Later, I would travel, pay off my mortgage early, and save a whack-load of money for retirement. Unfortunately, I'll experience death from old age around the age of 90. Woooh! WHAT A LIFE THAT IS! When I finished writing that little blurb about my successful life dream, I fell into more conviction of how my life should be. I dare you to write down your ultimate success dream on paper; you might just see how depressing it actually sounds. In regards to my life, I am 26 years old to date, and I have accomplished about 95% of that list already. Don't get me wrong. I love it all and I feel very blessed & fortunate that God has allowed me to achieve these things – but these successes can also become my greatest distractions. I have a beautiful house, a wonderful wife, and an amazing job, but to tell you the truth, sometimes late at night I walk around in a longing emptiness, because I know there is so much more to life. I can't bare the thought of wasting it.
Before you start getting all defensive, let me just say it. There is nothing wrong with being successful and having nice things. YOU CAN SUCCEED! I hope you do! But if that is the focus of your life... then you have fallen victim to the very trap that most of North American Christians fall for.
SORRY? Shots fired. I might have just offended you. To be honest, I want you to like me, but I can't & won't lie to you. I am not accusing, but rather speaking from experience. You see, I lived that life. I fell for the trap. I believed the lies that said “This is what you need to be successful in this life”. I sat in church for 20 years hearing and learning about Jesus, singing songs, and playing on the
worship team, I did all the typical Christian things you could possibly imagine. I had all the jewels on my AWANAS Spark's badge. I was your picture perfect christian male. I participated and I filled the 'role', but I was dead inside. The worst part was – I didn't even know it. Why didn't I know it? Because no one other than my parents ever told me. Even if I was ever told, I never would have listened anyways. I had life figured out.
(actual photos of my Sparks vest)
IT IS A CULTURAL PROBLEM I hate pointing fingers at individuals; it's really no ones fault. So I'll point it towards all of us just at once. We have a problem and it breed from our culture. Church is great, church people are enthusiastic, everything is ideal and perfect. However, we have a REAL problem. We have taken on this casual, apathetic, and a 'it can wait' type of mentality when it comes to the things Christ has commanded us to do. The church (body) has (for the most part) adapted to the split lifestyle of Jesus & success. We believe in God and we do the Christian things, but our lives are not in a sense of full surrender to God - It's a 50/50. It's half in the world, half out. Obedient most of the time, when it makes most sense for us. Basically, we treat Christ like salt on a steak. It's good, but that salt just makes it taste a bit better – so why not right? We don't want to go to hell, so let's just get that eternal life insurance, pay the weekly fees, and reap the benefits later. What am I trying to say through this? I am saying that most of us do not take Christ seriously the way we should. What do you get when you mix 50% hot water with 50% cold water? You will get 100% lukewarm water. It's neither hot, nor cold. It's too cold for a cup of coffee, and too warm for a refreshing thirst quench. It's useless. Be hot or be cold, just pick one. Christ says clearly in Revelation 3 about what he thinks of lukewarmness. WE'VE BEEN COMMISSIONED
Listen, we have been commissioned! If you are a Christian, you know that we will spend eternity with Christ one day. So why are we losing our minds about the things of this world? Why, as a whole, have we become more interested in investing into these soon-to-be-passed lives- when we should be investing into the kingdom of God? We spend so much time worrying about the now, that we forget about the later. I am fully convinced that there is one root cause to this. I might be taking a shot in the dark – but it's the only one that makes sense.
HERE IT GOES: If we claim to be true Christians, but have no desire to actually live a surrendered life for Christ above anything else. If we can not willingly denounce everything for His namesake... it leaves me with one conclusion: We must not really know the Lord our God as much as we think we do. Or perhaps, we really don't know Him at all. I say this with all genuineness, because when you truly know, and truly understand (I emphasize this greatly, I wish I could scream this...) when you TRULY know and TRULY understand the God of the universe, the God who paid for your sin, the CREATOR OF EVERYTHING IN EXISTENCE - when you TRULY understand Him in all His Glory, there would be no way that your view on life will be the same. There is no way you could go on living apart from Him. How could it be? I am going to leave this open ended, because I feel like we all have some serious heart seeking to do with God right now. So, I will leave you with this:
THE TRUE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS,
STARTS WITH A TRUE PURSUIT OF CHRIST. ARE YOU LIVING FOR HIM TODAY?