I read this on a friend’s blog this week. It wasn’t really taken as a truth. In fact, she was pretty frustrated at hearing it from a preacher’s mouth at a church she was visiting. I understand her frustration. No one needs to see Christianity as Stoicism. It isn’t about being as sad or serious as you can be in order to achieve some sort of super holiness.
At the same time, I do understand what the preacher was getting at, and I do agree. Our purpose here on earth cannot be the pursuit of our own happiness. When I hear preachers spend inordinate amounts of time talking about how to make our own lives better, how to fix our finances, or how to tap into God’s blessings, I get a little worked up. Not because those things aren’t Biblical. Sure they are. But because those things aren’t the goal. Happiness is a fortunate result of living for Christ. It is not, and never should be, the goal.
We’ll be exploring this some in the Wednesday college class—how sometimes we’re called to sacrifice happiness for holiness.