Tag Archives: Happiness

One reason being a Christian makes me happy

16 Mar

Existential Qs

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Who am I?  
  • Is there any point to any of this?

Paul commended the Athenian thinkers of his day for looking into the important questions of life, the deep issues.  He observed that they were indeed following the hunger that God placed in all men, to know Him.  But they had arrived at some dead ends.  Paul started where their human reason had landed them and hooked their curiosity with this pronouncement:

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God,and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for  ‘In him we live and move and have our being’.…  Acts 17:24-28a

Was their curiosity satisfied?  Yes and no. A few Athenians were able to SEE the truth, but most weren’t.  Why was that?  Were they not all smart, thinking, logical Joes and Janes?

I am the light of the world; the one who follows me will not walk in the shadows but that one will have the Light of the world.  John 8:12

I first heard someone explain who Jesus was and what He had done when I was 23.  That is when I ‘saw the light’ so to speak. At that point most of my existential questions began to be answered.  What caused me to see clearly and arrive at a true paradigm that explains those 3 questions at the beginning of this blog?  Nothing but the supernatural working of God ON me.  It happens like this for all those who treasure Jesus Christ:

  • No one can follow Jesus unless he can SEE Jesus (though invisible).
  • We can’t SEE who Jesus is until God flips on the immaterial light switch in our ‘heart’, that source of reason and imagination and will.
  • Once we ‘see’ this supernatural light, then we can ALSO ‘see’ by means of Jesus EVERYTHING else that’s ultimately or eternally important.

That Holy Spirit lightbulb moment happened for me when I was 23. As I have grown and learned to know who Jesus is in all his limitless dimensions, I have grown existentially happier and happier.  I now rest KNOWING the following:

  • The meaning of life – to know and let others know about the Triune God
  • Who I am – a RICHLY gifted and GREATLY loved, though underserving, child of God
  • What the point of life and this world is – for God to create a diverse family of human beings from across the ages who will enjoy Him by being satisfied by Him forever

Do I have the answers to all my questions?  Good heavens, NO!   But the major existential issues of life that every human grapples with and which each system of thought attempts to answer ARE settled.

And……I am free to SEE and to SAVOR the True, the Good and the Beautiful in this life that God has created.  As a dependent follower of Christ I have been given a mission to spread this good news of God’s love and purpose with others.

For all those reasons my heart IS happy, no matter how trying the day is or what suffering it brings.

Logical Gal and a win-win wager

22 Oct

True Confessions!

I struggle with worry.  Not only is this stupid, but it’s a sin since God commands Christians: Do not be anxious (Phil 4:6)

I was battling this unbelief Sunday night and Monday morning, when I realized that the possible outcomes revolving around my worrysome circumstance could be organized in a similar fashion to Pascal’s Wager.

Pensées - Pascal

Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher and mathematician.  One of the ways you might be acquainted with him is through his Pensées .  This collection of thoughts were gathered by his man-servant and assembled after his death.  He had written each pithy reflection about God on pieces of parchment and then sewn them into his coat’s lining.

Pascal meditated on how one should live this life here on earth in view of what might happen beyond the grave.  His reasoning as a logician led him  in view of  after death options to sort out the possible outcomes of a decision for or against relying on God.

The 4 possibilities look like this:

1. God exists and I give up management and submit to Him – I get a joy-filled/punishment-free eternal life with God. The cost? Very little –  some temporary experiences that might have satisfied me if indulged in.

2. God exists and I refuse to acknowledge Him and control my own life – I get a scary and painful eternal life away from God. The cost? A LOT! – an eternity of pain that lasts a lot longer than the temporary earthly pleasures I indulged in

3. God does not exist and I give up my control and desires and live according to what I think He wants – I get nothing, because there is nothing beyond the grave.  Nothing bad or good awaits me forever. The cost? Very little some temporary experiences I held back from.

4. God does not exist and I live my life following my own desires – I get nothing, because there is nothing beyond the grave. Nothing bad or good awaits me forever.  The cost? Nothing

So if you evaluate what you stand to gain or lose, rationally it makes sense to bet on God existing. (of course what one thinks of God and what God thinks of us is not up to odds, but this is just a way of using reason)

Back to worry.  How does this idea of a wager apply?

I think we can set up a similar decision wager paradigm that clearly shows the folly of worry.

First of all, here is my pre-supposition:  Worry is a joy and happiness stealer.  The formula looks like this:

Worry Inequaltiy Math Symbol Joy

And our choice of belief boils down to this:

1. Believe God when He says He is taking care of us = no need to worry.

2. Don’t believe God when He says He is taking care of us =  need to worry.

  • If we believe God and He is who He says He is and therefore IS taking care of us – we didn’t worry and we have peace and get proof that God provided for that need/situation/problem.
  • If we believe God and He doesn’t exist or isn’t like what we think – we didn’t  worry and we have to deal with the outcome of the need/situation/problem but we didn’t experience the joyless pain of worry leading up to the situation.
  • If we don’t believe God, whether He exists or not, we end up worrying and lose our joy and peace.

It makes sense as Christians to opt for the first situation.

Happiness

If God IS God by definition, then in His essence He is honest and everything He says about Himself IS true.  Afterall, his character and reputation are at stake.  We yield to emotions so often and don’t cling to truth.  And all along God is present and willing and able to handle our situations.

I have to remind myself daily that God knows about my day and has provisioned me with exactly what I need for each moment.  I am to make use of these provisions by divine faith which He has given me.

Christianity is a calling to use the evidence that God through the Holy Spirit has given us.  May we each be empowered to believe the Truth!

…the Spirit is Truth.  1 John 5:6b 

Question:  What helps you with anxiety?