Devotional: ‘The Pursuit of Happiness or Holiness?’

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“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”  (1 Peter 1:14-16 NLT)

One day I was searching on the internet for a book entitled, “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges. As many of you know, whenever you search for something on the internet, often you are given several options. In my search for the “Pursuit of Holiness”, the internet asked me – “Did you mean: the pursuit of happiness?” If that was not so true, it might be funny. No doubt the internet thought, “Who in their right mind is in the pursuit of holiness? Aren’t we all in the pursuit of happiness!”

Many view happiness and holiness as being exact opposites. To them, no one who is holy can also be happy. The pursuit of holiness is often viewed as a legalistic observance of some stern and rigid rules. Therefore, anything that will make us holy can’t make us happy, and anything that can make us happy, won’t make us holy. Yet that is not what the Bible teaches. For the child of God, true happiness is found in holiness. Consider this passage of scripture.

Psalm 119:9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word… 47 for I delight in your commands because I love them. 48 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.

Rather than resisting God’s law, the psalmist delighted in it. He treasured God’s Word in his heart as others might treasure great riches. He meditated on God’s Word constantly and he often repeated back to himself the things God was revealing to him.

Why did this young man so love the Word of God? Why was he in such a pursuit of holiness? He was in the pursuit of holiness because he was in the pursuit of God. He loved God and therefore he loved everything that had to do with God.

For the child of God, holiness and happiness are opposites. For the child of God, true happiness can be found only when there is true holiness. In closing, I take you to a passage of scripture that describes heaven. Consider these verses carefully as we bring our study to a close for today.

Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Heaven is not only a place of precious commodities such as gold and silver, heaven is also a place of perfect holiness.

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