From Sudan: The Pursuit of Happiness

Welcome to Wednesday, Folks! I’m still in Sudan, but that doesn’t mean that the book discussion is cancelled! My installment on Chapter 9 is below and the link widget is living over at my dear friend, Jason’s site—Connecting to Impact. Please read & comment here, then skedaddle on over to Jason’s site and see what treats he has in store for you! (Thank you, thank you, dear Jason for getting along without me today!) Barring any unforeseen occurrences, I’ll be back in time to comment on everybody’s posts NEXT week! And that reminds me, next week, I’ll have another post for you here, but Pastor Jason will be handling the link widget that day too. Isn’t he a FABULOUS co-facilitator?! Really, go love on him for me, will ya?

And now, Chapter 9…

When You Believe in God but Pursue Happiness at Any Cost?

Have you ever heard the statement: It’s not about you?

I’ve heard it dozens of times before. From my parents, from my pastors, from God, and most recently from myself. And then, while I was reading Chapter 9, I kept hearing it over and over and over again, like a movie theme playing in my head.

In Chapter 9 of The Christian Atheist, Craig Groeschel says this: “If we believe that God wants us happy above all else, rather than acknowledging that our role is to serve God, we wrongly believe that God exists to serve us. God becomes a mean to our end: happiness.” (p. 165)

At best, this is selfishness and thoughtlessness. And at its worst, it could be idolatry of self or even megalomania.

Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that God has a plan to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me hope and a future. But that doesn’t mean His whole plan revolves around me. Or you. God created us to bless Him and to fulfill His purposes on earth. And while He loves us so much that He wants to bless us, His purpose is so much greater than that!

Each chapter so far has brought us back to the bottom line that in order to be a true Christian, our lives must be about our relationship with Christ. Notice, I didn’t say that our lives must be about pleasing ourselves.

Let me share a couple of scriptures with you that really pinpoint the differences between living to make ourselves happy and living to be in a love relationship with Christ.

John 14:15-17a,20-21

If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth…..On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.

John 15:9-17

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.

Life isn’t about me or you. Life is about loving and serving God and pouring His love out to others through service. It won’t always be pretty, comfortable, safe, or easy. Sometimes, it will break your heart or your wallet or your back. It won’t always feel like it’s worth it, but be encouraged! There is a reward and that reward is an eternal relationship with Christ!

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  1. Ok, I promise I did not read your post before writing mine… Once again we use the same Groeschel quote! Were we separated at birth or something?

    If you love me, you will obey what I command.


    Praying for you daily Sarah!

  2. Life isn’t about me. Seems like it would be easier to remember that, right? I mean, how could it be? …since Jesus gave everything for me and I’me alive because my Father planned for me (even though my parents didn’t) and I continue breathing because He wills it. It has nothing to do with me, yet He loves me completely. Thanks Sarah–these thoughts are very humbling today.

    Praying for you. 🙂

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