Does God desire for me to be happy?
Life lived in harmony, balance leads to experiences of joy
The Rev. Darlene Strickland, pastor, Unity Church of Lawrence, 900 Madeline Lane:
Understanding and knowing what God WANTS points us to the underlying questions what God IS.
Seeking to understand the nature of God is a perennial question inherent in the human predicament. There are many ways to surmise the nature of God and thereby what could be expected of God. Whatever we choose to believe, the truth remains that God is still invisible, and we can neither prove nor disprove the "truth" we choose to adopt.
I choose to understand the nature of God, the creator, through observing and understanding the creation. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- the eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made ..." (Romans 1:20)
If we are created "in the likeness and image of God," if we are the very "temple of God," we must embody the attributes of God. Do WE want our loved ones to be happy? Absolutely we do. How much more must our creator want this for us?
We have a natural inclination to live well and to live in harmony. The intelligence that exists behind the universe is a presence of harmony, balance and order, continually and successfully perpetuating life.
When we harmonize with the whole, we experience joy -- the greatest expression of happiness. The very essence of life is to grow, develop and evolve to our fullest capacity.
When we live our highest truth, we come to know and experience real joy. As French writer and social reformer Leon Bloy writes, "Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God."
Send e-mail to the Rev. Darlene Strickland at email@example.com.
God wants happiness based on spiritual, eternal values
The Rev. Bill Hurlbutt, senior pastor, Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive:
Well, I believe he does, but I believe his definition of happiness differs significantly from what humanity might see as happiness.
For most people in this world, happiness might be defined as having their every desire fulfilled, while others would define happiness as a life free of financial difficulty, filled with pleasure and constant fun.
But is this how God defines happiness?
I don't believe so. God wants us to be happy, but the happiness he desires for us is spiritual and based on eternal values, rather than worldly and based on temporal things.
Scripture clearly states God wants us to enjoy life here on earth. He wants us to live happily and enjoy the fruits of our labor. But not only does God want us to be happy, he also wants us to be holy.
God does not want us to be "happy" if it involves living in sin, believing false teachings, causing another to stumble in his or her way, fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, or the lustful pursuit of personal pleasures.
Real happiness is a by-product of being in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter gives us a glimpse into the happy-holy lifestyle:
"If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:10-12, New Living Translation).
Send e-mail to the Rev. Bill Hurlbutt at firstname.lastname@example.org.