The Best Kind of Happiness
By: Julie Ackerman Link
If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
“Everybody’s doing it” seemed like a winning argument when I was young. But my parents never gave in to such pleas no matter how desperate I was to get permission to do something they believed was unsafe or unwise.
As we get older we add excuses and rationalizations to our repertoire of arguments for having our own way: “No one will get hurt.” “It’s not illegal.” “He did it to me first.” “She won’t find out.” Behind each argument is the belief that what we want is more important than anything else.
Eventually, this faulty way of thinking becomes the basis for our beliefs about God. One of the lies we sometimes choose to believe is that we, not God, are the center of the universe. We think we will be carefree and happy only when we reorder the world according to our desires. This lie is convincing because it promises an easier, speedier way to get what we want. It argues, “God is love, so He wants me to do whatever will make me happy.” But this way of thinking leads to heartache, not happiness.
Jesus told those who believed in Him that the truth would make them truly free (John 8:31-32). But He also warned, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (v. 34).
The best kind of happiness comes from the freedom we find when we accept the truth that Jesus is the way to a full and satisfying life.
Lord, we confess our tendency to rationalize everything to get what we think we want. Guide us today so that we choose to obey Your commands instead of pursuing our own desires.
There are no shortcuts to true happiness.
Jesus’s confrontations with the religious establishment became increasingly combative as the time of His death drew near. In John 8 the leaders of Judaism implied that Jesus’s birth was illegitimate (vv. 40–41). When Jesus affirmed His Father and, with that, His deity, those same leaders attempted to stone Him to death for the sin of blasphemy (v. 59). Some say that Jesus never claimed to be God, but it is clear from John 8 that the religious leaders, scholars, and experts of Israel saw Jesus’s words as nothing less than a claim to be God.