Tuesday, August 1

Happiness is an Added Bonus

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. --2nd Peter 1:3 (NIV)

I am ashamed of how often I take God and his abundant blessings for granted. He always fulfills his promises, he continually provides for me, he protects me and loves me unconditionally. Even so, there are times when it's far too easy for me to fall into a mindset that lets me believe that God owes me something in exchange for my faithfulness to him. In the past I have tried to rationalize that a God who is truly merciful and benevolent must also be one who just wants his creatures to be happy. This seems reasonable, especially when considering verses like Matthew 7:11 which tells us that good gifts can be ours just by asking our heavenly Father.

This attitude is particularly dangerous because it reverses what my focus should be. In fact, when I become preoccupied with happiness, I am no better than a wicked man (Psalm 10). King Solomon's words in Ecclesiastes also remind me that happiness is fleeting and is the result of circumstance.

God does not exist to provide for me, I exist to glorify him. Of all the things in life that are necessities, happiness is not one of them, but God chooses to bless me with happiness anyway. Through God's divine power, everything I need for life comes from how well connected I am to Christ. The more time I spend serving God and not chasing after things that I think will make me happy, the better equipped I become to recognize his blessings in any form. As I grow in my knowledge of him, I become more Christ-like.

Despite my tendency to think that happiness is something I deserve or even something to which I am entitled, God continues to remind me that happiness is just an added bonus. My life is a happy one not because of anything I have earned. Nor is it because God finds certain favor in me. It is because of God's incredible love for me and the ways he teaches me about his loving character.



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