By Titus Edwards
“Daddy,” said the little boy, “mules must be great Christians, for they have such long faces!” One of my college professors liked to tell that one. I fear that we have often given the wrong impression of Christianity to people. It is almost like we believe that God took a look and saw everything that was fun to do and then proclaimed those things as wrong and sinful to do. Some believe that God does not want anyone to enjoy life and have fun. Well, it just isn’t true!
I really believe that the way to true happiness in life is by living as a Christian should! I also believe that God does want us to enjoy life here and the blessings He gives! In Ecclesiastes 11:9, Solomon says, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let they heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. ” It sounds like he is saying to live it up and enjoy your youth. He is! It is a joy and happiness that comes by living with a view toward judgment, not just of unrestrained wildness.
Do you believe God is good? Do you believe God wants the best for you? Do you believe God knows more about man and what will make him happy than man does? If these things are true, then it only follows that God’s instructions are given for our own good, to lead us not only to heaven, but true joy and fulfillment here! “And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always . . .” (Deut. 6:24).
There is happiness in being a Christian! We are to “rejoice in the Lord” (Phil. 3:1). The beatitudes begin with the word “blessed” which means happy. Happy or blessed is the person whose life is filled with those characteristics. “Blessed are they that do his commandments. . .” (Rev. 22:14), not those who muck it up in sin! The kingdom of God consists of “joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17). Paul said that “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is. . . ” (1 Tim. 4:8). Do you really believe godly living is profitable unto you now in this life? It is I Do you want to enjoy life and see good times? Peter tells you how to do such. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Pet. 3: 10-11). The good life comes by exercising some restraint with sin and doing good!
Our whole purpose for being here is to “fear God and keep his commandments” (Eccl. 12:13-14). That is what gives meaning to life. Without that kind of direction, we are like a ship without a rudder, endlessly running in circles. Joy, happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction, comes by serving God and your fellow man, for it gives you the direction you need. Sin’s pleasures are fleeting and non-filling. They are “but for a season” (Heb. 11:25), and “passeth away” (1 Jn. 2:17). The “do-your-own-thing” philosophy leads to selfishness and misery.
The 103rd story of the Sears building in Chicago is where the observation deck is on the world’s tallest building. From there you can see much of Chicago beneath. You could easily direct a person to where they needed to go, for you can see all of the routes and know which ones may dead end at the river or lake, and which ones get the person to the final destination. On the ground, it is much harder to see the city. The buildings get in your way. It is easy to get lost for you can’t see where you are going from where you are. The difference is perspective. I believe that God is in the Sears Tower of life! He knows the end from the beginning. His Word is to help us know which way to go, recognizing that our perspective is limited. It is hard for us to see the forest for the trees. Trust in God and live according to His wisdom, that “it may be well with thee,” and that you can enjoy true happiness.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 1, p. 5
January 5, 1985