There is a popular saying that I have often come across that says “God doesn’t want your happiness but your holiness”. I have greatly struggled with that saying and to be honest secretly loathe it. It doesn’t make sense. How can a good God not care about my happiness? Does God Want Me To Be Happy? Does God want me to be perpetually depressed? Sad and unfulfilled in life?
I have been reading books. Most recently a book where a pastor has chosen to live a celibate life. He chose this because he is same-sex attracted but for the sake of the cross has chosen not to embrace that lifestyle. This sacrifice has made him give up his desire to have a family, sex, and companionship. He is often sad and has moments where he sits on his kitchen floor and cries from the deep pain he feels from his predicament.
As I was reading that chapter where he opened up about these moments, I felt his pain. He then went on to say that in those moments he is reminded that obedience to God will often cost you temporary unhappiness in this life. He then said that when he is down, he is encouraged by the sacrifice he sees other Christians he knows who put obedience before their own personal happiness, knowing that what they have to give up now is nothing compared to the glories that will be received in the hereafter.
What a hard saying!!! Who can accept it? As I wrestled even more with this, I was reminded of the scripture where Jesus says “If anyone would come after me he should be ready to take up his cross and follow me“
Another scripture Jesus says “He who loses his life for my sake will find it. He who finds his life will lose it”. Deep words! But it’s true of the Christian life. Christianity is a life of cost. A life of sacrifices. I was challenged and began to think, “what have I given up in obedience to God ? What has the gospel cost me?”Christianity is a life of cost. A life of sacrifices. Click To Tweet
At first, I struggled to find an Answer and I started getting worried but then a thought suddenly came on!!
Yes by the grace of God I have in obedience to God-given up things, one major one being sex. Before I got saved I was sexually active. Indulging my flesh. But now I’m saved I’m called to be celibate till I get married. Right now I’m single. I hope to get married, I’m not promised I will! There is a possibility that I may never get married. But just because I’m single doesn’t mean I will use it as an excuse out of frustration with God to go and have sex.
Yes the lack of sex, intimacy often causes me pain. Some days are good and some days I feel like I want to throw in the towel. Like the author, I have “kitchen floor moments” though I don’t cry in the kitchen but rather in my bed at night.
Yes following Christ has cost me. Does it also mean I am perfect in my obedience? NO!! Like everyone, I struggle with sin mine being lust. But it’s a battle I will keep on fighting despite how I feel. And in those moments I have to encourage myself in the lord and remember not to grow weary. In those moments I have to confront that hard truth that my holiness matters to God more than my happiness.
But please don’t get me wrong . Am I saying that all God does is rain down pain on his children? No!! So much in scriptures show how God answers prayers. How he rescues his children. How he provides for them. Surely answers to prayer, provision, healing, are all blessings from God and they bring us happiness in this life. But what is the main point of this article?
In conclusion, it is said that a salvation that doesn’t require sacrifice or cost( those things/ sins that bring you happiness) is no salvation at all. A disciple who hasn’t lost or sacrificed anything for the kingdom is no true disciple. So my question to you today is this,
“Has following Jesus cost you anything?”
Then Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. – Luke 9:23-24
Written by: Sherleen Adaisy; Adaeze is a Christian who seeks to be more like Christ and obedient to his word. She works with adults who have autism/ mental health and in her spare time she writes about history. She loves food, social media, books and horror movies.