Monday, February 05, 2007

How would you respond to this statement?

"We should pursue our holiness, not happiness."

Now, I know my audience here and how you probably feel about that statement (at least most of you), but how would you respond to someone who says this, yet lives out a real delight in God in their life?

Josh and I have encountered this said several times over the last few weeks and are just praying for wisdom in how to humbly respond.

I would love to hear what you would say.

"All men seek happiness. This is without exception. This is the motive of every action of every man, even those who hang themselves." --Blaise Pascal


Deeciple97 said...

Aaah, you stole my blog post!! Seriously, I plan on blogging on the same exact topic. I'll link to this one when I do. You KNOW what I think. I believe Piper's response is adequate, "It sounds like you are making a god out of joy? No, you make a god out of anything you most find your joy in." Be holy as our Father is holy does not contradict, Is. 55.

Jason said...

I think it's important to take into consideration the context in which this kind of statement is made. I would ask what they mean when they use the term 'happy' because it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people in the church. For many it has sadly been given a bad name and has been associated with a shallow, need-driven, therapeutic kind of Christianity. In that case, we need to speak against that kind of 'happiness.' I think we also need to redeem true biblical happiness. The kind commanded in Psalm 37 and Philippians when Paul says, "Rejoice always, again I say rejoice."

I would also say that redeeming happiness is important but a process and I have grace for those who have not gone through the process yet. Unless someone dives deeply into Piper it is easy to miss the place of joy as a motivator in the Old and New Testaments. But if someone is seeking with all their might to make much of Christ and make him and the cross central to everything then I think the process is much easier and joy and happiness is often evident and central in their lives. They are often functionally living as Christian hedonists in many ways.

I have written down in the past some thoughts on the relationship between Biblical holiness and happiness. I’ll have to dig those up and post them.

Josh and Dana said...

Both great comments. Thanks for your thoughts and I'll definitely check back to see what you guys have posted on this.