Last week read in the Introduction of “The Gospel According to Satan” by Jared C. Wilson about the cunning schemes of our enemy and how he uses his fallen talents to manipulate the truth to trap us in sin.
God created us to yearn for fulfilment, beauty, and enlightenment but sin creates the desire for these attributes in ways that are not from God.
If only I had_________, I would finally be happy.
I’m sure I am not the only one who has been tricked by this train of thought in every stage of life. In our fallen human nature, we are always trying to satisfy the deep ache in our soul with the temporary pleasures of a fallen world. Satan wants us to focus on these natural pleasures, so we forget to look up to God. If we aren’t constantly flooded with happy hormones from pleasures such as sunsets, prosperity, and laughter we think we are being robbed by God.
We recognise this in Solomon’s futile quest expressed in Ecclesiastes to find fulfilment through sex, money, power, wisdom, riches etc. etc. But at the end of his life, he was still left with an eternal hole.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”Ecclesiastes 3:11
This search for happiness is universal, which means we are easily led astray by thoughts such as “God has a wonderful plan for your life.” You can search far and wide but examples of followers of Jesus whose lives followed this “wonderful plan” are not easily found in Scripture. Instead, we read of true followers of Christ, such as Paul and Job, who could say that God had a difficult plan for their lives.
So, if God just wanted us to be happy, why did he curse Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:13-19) or call Paul (2 Corinthians 11:24-28) to a life of suffering?
Because happiness is not God’s main priority for us.
Jared C. Wilson quotes many examples of scripture on pages 14-16 of “The Gospel According to Satan” that answers this question. I would highly recommend that you read each of these verses and meditate on them. Here is one example:
“But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy…; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.”1 Peter 1:15-16
God’s main priority is to make his glory known, and we make his glory known by becoming holy.
To be holy means to be set apart and pursue submission to God that reflects his existence and character – the character we were created to be before Satan’s lie.
So, God doesn’t just want you to be happy – he wants you to be holy first which means happiness must sometimes be sacrificed, although the one does not exclude the other.
The lie that God just wants you to be happy is dangerous because Satan would prefer us to be satisfied by momentary pleasures that bring temporary happiness and remove us from God even further. He will do whatever it takes to prioritize happiness over holiness.
“He knows happily, unholy people rob glory from God and go happily to hell.”Page 17, The Gospel According to Satan by Jared C. Wilson
Keeping all this in mind, does God even care about our happiness?
Keep reading and we’ll explore that later in chapter 1…
Enjoy your reading!
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the books studied by Nettie’s Book Club. I am not profiting from the sale of these books. I will carefully select books that have had a significant impact on my faith. My goal is simply to share the wisdom in these books with others so we can assess and apply the wisdom of these authors to grow in understanding of our faith together.