“While all men seek after happiness, only one in one hundred seek for it in God.” – John Calvin
Every creature on earth has it in them to desire happiness. It is instilled in us to pursue happiness, and joy. Yet, because of our fallen nature, we pursue this happiness everywhere, except where it’s truly found, in Jesus. We establish broken cisterns in our lives, that cannot hold water, and we are always left thirsty, dry, and wanting. The things of earth will leave us wanting more, Christ alone is all-satisfying.
John Piper, a Christian Hedonist, says that he used to think that being a Christian meant suppressing all desires to be happy, and that all of his desires to be happy were too strong. Then he read some literature by C.S. Lewis and realized, his desire to be happy wasn’t strong enough. Our desire to be happy, when properly pursued, is a desire for God. God is the source of all joy, and true pleasure. So, like John Piper realized, his desire to be happy, was in reality, a thirst for God, and we can never thirst for God too much.
The psalmist understood this:
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Psalm 16:11
Our desire for joy is in us so that we would pursue God, because only in His presence is there fullness of joy. Our desire for pleasure is in us so that we would pursue God, because only at His right hand are there pleasures forevermore.
The desire, in and of itself, is not our problem, it’s what we seek to satisfy that desire with. God has promised that He Himself will satisfy us, yet we often choose that which is unsatisfactory.
Jesus tells us, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again.” – John 4:13-14
In other words, Jesus is the all-satisfying water, that all of our souls need. He gives us this thirst, and satisfies this thirst with Himself. Oh the wisdom, and wonder of our satisfying Savior!
C.S. Lewis says it best:
“Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
So, Christian, let me say this to you plainly. You’re desire for happiness is not wrong. It is misguided. Your nature runs to the mud-pies of this world, when a holiday at sea is offered daily. In our fallenness we seek joy through joyless pursuits. We seek happiness in dead end places. When we seek to find joy in Christ, we find a never-ending fountain of satisfaction.
Pursue joy and happiness in Him alone, because in Him alone is it found.