Why "Being Happy” Doesn't Make Me Happy

Sundays, at times,  have been some of the most frustrating days of my life. The one day of the week when I'm supposed to be getting rest has often been the most unrestful. Reading through 2 Timothy helps me understand why.

Throughout this book, Paul has been listing for Timothy the things he should pursue: righteousness, faith, love, peace, kindness, gentleness and patience, among others. At the beginning of chapter 3, Paul makes a different kind of list, a list of some of the ways people can “go bad,” and one of those ways is to become “a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God” (3:4).

I believe that the pursuit of pleasure isn't bad because pleasure is bad, but because aiming at pleasure is not right. As Paul says, pursuing pleasure can become a replacement for pursuing God. Second, as my own experience (and many others' throughout history) demonstrates, pursuing pleasure - directly and by itself - just does not work. It is God’s peace and love and faith and the real rest God provides that lead to happiness. It is a great thing to receive a gift - a sunrise and good cup of coffee or a nice piece of chocolate - but to pursue a lifestyle of chocolate and sunrises in and of themselves can only lead to trouble. Pleasure is one of those things that if you aim at it, you never get it.

Doing better on Sundays has meant learning how to aim not so much at “hey, this is my time now!” to aiming at resting in the heart of God.

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