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Archive for the ‘A Happy and Holy Life’ Category

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When things don’t go the way we want them to in our lives, what is our response? Even as Christians, we question God’s plan (“Why isn’t God giving me what I asked for?” intimating that maybe, just maybe, He doesn’t know what He’s doing); question God’s goodness (“Maybe He isn’t who the Bible says He is,” or “If God was really good…”); and sometimes question His existence.

The problem, at its core, is we think God exists to make us happy. We have an image of what we think our life should look like: a nice family to grow up in, a good school to attend, a great job with unbelievable pay and benefits, a spouse we’ve always dreamed of, children who are both obedient and brilliant, a home that could be featured in House Beautiful, vacations to the most exotic places, no sickness or disease, and the list goes on. If those things, which obviously differ from person to person, don’t come to pass (for ourselves or others) we tend to blame God. We think He didn’t come through, or that He doesn’t love us or care about us, or maybe all of those things we’ve been taught about Him aren’t really true. As a result, we create an idol in our own image and call it “God.” We are sinful to the core, which this devolution of thinking proves.

The truth of the matter is that God’s “job,” if you will, is to make us – His people – holy. Paul tells the church in Rome, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:28-29). God causes all things to work together for good for His people. For what purpose? “To become conformed to the image of His Son.”  Therefore, God’s job is to make us like Jesus – who is holy – and He’ll use everything in our lives to accomplish that purpose.

Our image of what should happen in our own lives, or the lives of others, may not accomplish God’s good purpose for us – our holiness. The sovereign and loving God will do what is best for us. We can count on it!

God’s job is to make us holy, and in holiness we find our happiness.

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You’ve heard the one about the husband and wife driving in their car. The wife asks, “Where are we going?” The husband answers, “I don’t know, but we’re making good time!” It’s sad, but people can go through life like that, too. They’re moving fast, but don’t quite know where.

To live a happy and holy life means that we live with the end in mind. In other words, if we have  a destination we can actually know if we’re making progress which will lead to both happiness and holiness. Purpose and meaning come from that goal – that end we have in mind.

Solomon wrote about this long before Steven Covey did in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He (Solomon) was the original “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” person. He tried and studied everything to learn the meaning and purpose of life, but came up short – all was vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Near the end of his life he wrote, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth” before everything slips away (Ecclesiastes 12:1a). Solomon concludes the book of Ecclesiastes and this issue by writing, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

In our youth (however that is defined), we need to remember our Creator and our Judge by fearing Him and keeping His commandments. If we keep that – the end – in mind, our life will be happy and holy. If we wander in aimlessness and purposelessness, not remembering God or fearing Him or keeping His commandments, then our life won’t be happy or holy.

If we have the end in mind, we’ll know where we’re going and whether or not we’re making progress.

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In terms of interpersonal relationships, I’m convinced that we would all be happier and holier if we simply “let it go.”

I agree with John MacArthur that at least 85% of all offenses should be overlooked. We encounter all kinds of slights as we go through our day: someone “looks at us funny,” we don’t like their tone or attitude, they don’t do exactly what they told us they would do, we’re not given the appreciation we think we deserve, someone treats us unfairly, or they never bothered to say “thank you” (the list could go on and on).

1 Peter 4:8 is most likely the best way to react. Peter wrote, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” The most loving thing we can do may be to “cover” the sin – simply “let it go.” Overlook it, forgive, forget it, and move on. Don’t try to confront everyone who offends you every time they offend you. If you do, your life will be unhappy, unholy, and lacking joy.

Yes, there are offenses and sins that must be confronted (remember that 85% is not 100% – roughly 15% should not be ignored or let go). The New Testament gives us clear instructions for church discipline which we are required by the Lord to follow.

But the vast majority of offenses are not on the level of church discipline and don’t require a heresy trial. Let them go. Drop them. Don’t make someone “pry them out of your cold, dead fingers.” Loving God and others, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, requires it, and a happy and holy life depends upon it.

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