Happiness And Sacrifice
|Do not be limited in happiness
to the mere collection
of things. That is only practical happiness. There is
nothing wrong with it, but deeper happiness inside comes
from further steps.
I am convinced one happiness often prepares for another and that a full life is a walk up the stairs of happiness to the top. The highest level of happiness is to know God. That gives a sense of spiritual belonging that never leaves you, but goes around with you, no matter where you go.
Every happiness we enjoy is a grace from God. There is the small happiness of little things and the greater, bigger happiness in good works. The ultimate level of happiness is knowing God and, knowing Him, doing for others who represent Him. Christ says that if you do it unto the least of these my brethren, “then you have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40) There is much happiness in our doing things for the Christ in others.
How can you be happy when there will be misery in your life? You may be certain that there will be times of misery as well as happiness. If you are a believer, then your misery is tempered by grace in the way the Apostle wrote “we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken: cast down but not destroyed; (II Corinthians 4: 8-9)
Christianity is a religion based on SACRIFICE THAT REDEEMS. We know that sacrifice may be hard but there can be much happiness and satisfaction in it. When spouses sacrifice for each other, there is the cleansing burning of a redeeming spirit as when parents sacrifice for a child or Christians for Christ.
Christ sacrificed for us, and when we sacrifice for others as He did, then we are god-like for a moment. We have transcended our selfishness for a divine purpose. We are dispensing grace from our lives to others.
We must remember God is Suffering Love. A sacrifice for love is a cleansing burning of some of our grossness within. Sacrifices build character and self-discipline within us. Through our ability to sacrifice we know ourselves while through the sacrifices others know us. In a meaningful sacrifice God takes pleasure. We glorify God through them.
Obedience is based on respect and respect is based on seeing how much we are loved. This is how we know Christ loved us. He sacrificed for us for redemptive purposes. When we do redeeming things for others, it makes us happy, and it shows the better side of us.
It is a good thing sacrifice can produce a special kind of happiness because sacrifices are often needed in life to redeem situations and to make things work. Families take sacrifice to keep them going. Countries need sacrifice to keep them operating. Churches need sacrifice to express God and to endure. Nearly anything worthwhile calls for sacrifice at one time or another.
Christianity knows the importance and necessity of the sacrifice. Now sacrifices are not to appease God, but to bring the suffering love of God, which we Christians emulate, down to earth to redeem situations and circumstances. Sacrifices are often needed to make things go better than they would have otherwise. In sacrifice and doing for Christ there can be great happiness and satisfaction.
But when we as Christians are spelling out grace, try not to be stupid and clumsy. God is subtle and His methods are love and irony. So be prepared to sacrifice but at the right time and for the right reason and in the right way. Think on this.
Some time the Lord will need you to sacrifice something for Him. Be ready to do so knowing that while sacrifice may be difficult, there can be great happiness and satisfaction in it if it is done for the right reason: to bring out the Lord in others and do the work of Jesus by helping others.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.