In Between Sundays

Holiness over Happiness

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Our culture can be convincing if we are not careful to listen. See, happiness is what seems to be the ultimate virtue in our culture. At all costs, we must be happy. Culture continually teaches us that if it feels good, it must be good - even if it isn’t. If it feels bad, then it must be bad - even if it is good for us. God calls us to a completely different standard. He calls us to holiness. Holiness has wrapped its arms around the objective morality of Jesus. Whereas happiness will struggle with great might to keep its head above water depending on the tide that rolls in.

A quote that I am fond of by Pastor Steven Furtick should help with this idea. “Happiness is a symptom of circumstances. Joy is a product of perspective. God is still good. I will be grateful.” If we are focused on happiness for the end goal of anything, we will inevitably be unbearably disappointed when the circumstances change. For example: when people marry for the purpose of, “they will make me happy,” the foundation of that marriage is at best like riding a bike down a hill with loose gravel, no brakes, and no helmet. It is unlikely to end well. What happens when the other person isn’t holding up their end of the bargain of happiness? Divorce becomes the only way out of this miserable life that is devoid of all happiness.

However, if a marriage is built on pursuing Jesus and becoming more like Him, we get to practice those marriage vows that proclaim durable covenantal vows: In sickness and in health, for rich or for poor, I will love you no matter what. That is Jesus toward us!

Even though we often fail in our thoughts, words, and deeds to please God, He still has never and will never stop loving us. When we act out in rebellion toward God, He steps in like a loving father and puts His arms around us. Before He put His arms around us, He had them stretched out on a cross dying a death that we should have died. He is the example of holiness over happiness that we should look to.

Posted by Clayton Havelka with

Precious Pearl of Patience

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Nothing truly worth doing will happen instantly. There has to be a struggle before there can be triumph. There has to be trial before there is victory. That’s why watching sports is so amazing. There is a struggle to the finish line and the sweet taste of victory is what everyone is after. However, often times we have an end goal in mind for something we want and we abandon the goal in the midst of the process. This happens for various reasons. If we stick with it, we might find a pearl at the end of the process.

Oysters. They are interesting creatures. Have you ever wondered how they produce pearls? Oysters try and reject grains of sand that come into their shell. After much frustration and persistence of not being able to get the grain of sand out of their shell, the oyster begins to coat the grain of sand with a liquid that calcifies into a pearl.

You see, the fruit of the oyster’s frustration is a pearl. Our culture of “I have to have it now” puts us at odds with what God has for us. Typically, we don’t eradicate sin from our lives in one day. It’s a process. We don’t have Bible knowledge the day after becoming a Christian. It’s a process. We don’t become spiritually obedient to the Lord in everything we do right away. It’s a process. Stick with the process.There is no destination without that process and struggle. We too often want the mountain top experiences without ever going through the valley. The reality is, the valley is where everything grows and animals thrive. Although the mountain top has amazing views that create awe and wonder to everyone who sees, the valley is where the rain falls, gives life, and allows everything to grow. Trust the process that God is for your good and that all things work together for those who love God (Romans 8:28).

Before Jesus could create an empty tomb, He had to go through the agony of Good Friday. Be patient. Keep praying. Don’t give up!

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