Sunday morning our flight landed at 9:08am and we were home after exploring a foreign country for 1.5 weeks. We were dealing with jet-lag but also we knew that it was the Lord's Day. It was a struggle to figure out if we should stay home and rest or go meet with our church family who we haven't seen. Someone once told me that when you take a vacation to get away, you should never take a vacation from the Lord. So we decided to go and although we were all tired I knew that the Lord was going to bless us. And He did. Although it was difficult to pay attention to the sermon because of my tiredness, I tried and fought to listen.
The sermon was on Psalms 1
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
(Psalm 1 ESV)
and although I really do not remember the points our pastor gave (sorry for that) I do remember things he addressed, especially dealing with happiness.
It's funny to think how this one word "happy" can cause so many problems. Being happy is not necessary wrong and sinful...but many times people have done whatever it takes to achieve it even if it leads to sinful lives or sinful decisions. I shouldn't say "people," I should say ME!! I make sinful decisions to obtain that word...when I forget what true happiness is. When I forget who actually is my source of happiness. I remember saying "how can it be wrong if it makes me happy?" Actually I hear a lot of people say that and that's a scary mentality because it can cause so many people to do whatever they think is "happiness."
But that kind of happiness, the kind that I had before, was deceptive! It caused me to only be happy when or if I had something. I remember one time in college lying in bed after a party I went to and thinking how lonely and sad I was because the party was over. I remember how being with my friends there, drinking and enjoying myself there was giving making me happy. But it would disappear once it ended. So I would always look forward to the next party, the next hang out with my friends, the next time I could drink...that wasn't true happiness...that was deceptive worldly happiness.
True happiness is only found in Christ. It was at that moment lying in bed I realized how I've deceived myself to redefine happiness in a worldly perspective. Because you see, when I truly understood that my happiness is in Christ who satisfy my heart...I could be alone and still have joy and peace. I didn't need a party to make me happy.
And even though I am not in college and I have a family now, I still find myself redefining happiness. I still find myself yearning for more to have that feeling of happiness. Forgetting that I am Christ's. I allow myself to be deceived thinking that I can achieve happiness apart from the Father. That I know how to obtain it on my own and even thinking that what He says in His word is wrong because "how can pain lead to happiness." I didn't want to deal with my sins because I knew that would lead to hurt and hardship of doing what I don't want to do. So it was easier to allow sin to dwell then to fight. I found myself making excuses, rationalizing, and ignoring my sin because it was making me "happy." But what I failed to see was that this "happiness" I was yearning for was the very thing that was draining my joy and peace. This deceptive notion of happiness was the very thing that was killing my soul and even though it is easier to live in sin...it was not satisfying.
Praise be to God who didn't give up on me when I gave up on Him. When I thought I knew better than Him about what happiness is. How foolish does that sound? But that's how we act like and think like when we disregard His counsel or consider other things than Him to be happy. Oh the Prideful self...and I'm glad that the Holy Spirit continued to work in my heart to continue to show me my sins even though I didn't want to deal with it. I"m glad that my heart did not become so callous that I didn't hear Him. And what great mercy it is to be redeemed because of Jesus' finish work on the cross. That I know that I am His and that it is only through Him that I can have true happiness and joy. That things, people, places can't be my source of happiness...but I'm glad that He blesses me with things, people and places to see His glory so I can turn back and find my joy in Him.