I don’t know why I even go to the “Christian bookstore” anymore. Every time I do, I leave frustrated, hurt, and confused! This week upon my visit, I wandered the aisles (just to see what’s ‘new’) and found a new release from a famous Christian pastor. His previous book was titled “Your Best Life Now” and his new book has the subtitle “How to be happier 7 days a week”.
It made me wonder . . . when did Christianity become “self help”?
Since when is the gospel’s greatest goal “your happiness”?
I read throughout all of scripture and find that the men and women who were devoted to pursuing the LORD experienced a lot of pain and suffering here on earth. Their delight and joy came from knowing that someday, they will see the LORD face to face and be with Him for all eternity.
At what point did Christianity forget that? The goal of the gospel is not happiness. The goal of the gospel is not presents, it's presence.
“The aim of the gospel is not an easy life. It is deeper knowledge of God and deeper trust in God . . . Its goal is my being so in love with Christ and so passionate about his glory that when my suffering can highlight his worth I will bear it ‘gladly’ . . . The goal is not our ease or wealth or safety in this age, but our dependence on Christ and delight in his glory.” (John Piper, God is the Gospel)
So do we come to God to get His gifts? Happiness? Our needs met? OR
Do we come to God to get God? To find delight in Him?
The goal of the gospel is to reconcile us with our Maker, our Heavenly Father, so that we can experience the fullness of JOY for all of eternity! The goal of the gospel is not meant to drive us to delight in anything but God, not temporary happiness, not gifts, but the Giver. The goal of the gospel is not us, it’s Him.
God (not our best life now) is meant to be our exceeding joy. His presence (not temporary happiness here on earth) is meant to be all satisfying.
“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.” (Psalm 43:3-4)
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)