Wednesday, 24 May 2017

I'm unhappy because I'm undisciplined

You've heard it before: "I just want you to be happy."

It's the way we say "yes" to something we might not do ourselves.  We say "I just want you to be happy," even though everything we've learned tells us that this person we want to be happy is going to be very unhappy later when their poor decision meets up with all its consequences.  It's like we know they will be unhappy, but hope we are wrong.  We're not, and we probably shouldn't say it if we really want people to be happy.

Happy now - unhappy later.  High - Low.  It is drug culture.  Getting "high" on whatever latest "pill" promises us we will feel happy in the moment.  Buy something.  Sleep with someone.  Treat that unhappiness with a quick dose of Canadian consumer culture and sex.  Only to crash in a huge downer of unhappiness later when the high wears off.

The old anti-drug slogan still rings true.  "Friends don't let friends do drugs."  Whether those drugs are illegal drugs - or cultural substitutes meant to make you "happy" for a while - only to disappoint you later.  We could all do a better job at warning one another of that huge crash coming around the corner.  We are not unhappy because we don't have any good things.  We are unhappy because we are undisciplined with our good things.  And we try to change that unhappiness by chasing new things, and ignoring the old undisciplined things.

Fitness.
Health.
Success.

Discipline anyone? 

Guilt.
Shame.
Fear.

Run.  Deny.  Ignore.

Aren't these the reasons for unhappiness?  And yet, when you take an honest look, none of our attempts at happiness involve saying "No" to ourselves.  They are all bandaids - something to throw on overtop the pain.

"I want" so I'm unhappy.  I struggle to say "No" to myself.  I wrestle with the reality that my desires are not good for me - in fact, the Bible calls them sinful. 

What do we do with this mess?

Repent.  Turn away from these chasings, and turn to the Lord.  He put Himself into our unhappiness and died.  He made Himself the man of sorrows.  He joined us in our cause in order to make a new humanity by His death and resurrection. 

Guilt? Shame?  Fear?  He took it all.  He carried it.  Bore it up onto the cross and defeated it in His own body there for you. 

You are forgiven, so that you can pursue self-control.
He gives you His honour, so that you can pursue prudent choices.
You are loved by Him, so that you can weather the ups and downs of life without having to turn to "drugs", but instead turn to Him again and again and again - and whenever you have need.
The LORD is my shepherd;  I shall not want.

I don't "just" want you to be happy.  You may not be happy much here on earth.  I want you to know Christ - who is with you - and will never leave you - until that Day when you see His eternal Paradise and learn what happiness really is.


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