This past Sunday, my pastor preached on World View vs. Word View. It was a very well spoken message! There were several points that jumped out at me. One was the world view of "hedonism" which is "pleasure is god." This jumped out at me because I often run into this world view today, especially on the college campus!
I often hear people say, "God wants me to be happy. He wouldn't have put this [person, situation, etc.] in my life if that wasn't what He wanted for me!" Well, how can you be so sure? Our enemy, Satan, disguises himself as an angel of light. So, what is tempting us looks shiny and "right" but is it really? Stop asking yourself, "will it work?" and ask yourself, "is this right?" because there is a big difference! "and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord."
- Ephesians 5:10
Another common argument is, "I'll just do this now, and get back on track later. I'm not ready now." or "This is the time of my life I want to have fun and live it up! God will be there when I'm done." The temptation of sin is so heavy that holiness is no longer the focus, but pleasure is. "You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied." - Proverbs 21:17 Beckah Shae hits on this point in her song Supernova, "We all know what it's like to live the nightlife, mixin' wrong with right leads to nothing but a dead life." God will indeed be there when your time of sowing wild oats is over, but your consequences will be very present. We don't think about the possibility of falling into the wrong crowd, finding ourselves so severely under the influence that we don't remember important details, or being lured into seemingly romantic yet promiscuous situations that could end with disease, a baby or simply a broken heart. All of those things come with their own set of consequences that may last an entire lifetime. Is it worth "living it up" now to pay for it all later? "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
- Galatians 6:7-8
Jesus teaches us that there's nothing wrong with happiness, but happiness can't be the end goal. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:10 That world "blessed" = happy. Persecuted people don't feel good, but they do it for righteousness' sake. Happiness is always a byproduct of living out the purpose that God has called you to live. They're happy because they are holy. And that is what God wants for all of us, above all else, holiness! The feeling of happiness is temporary, but the joy of the Lord lasts forever. And when you are walking in righteousness with integrity, that joy will be overflowing and much more meaningful than any moment of happiness the world can offer.
"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin."
- Hebrews 11:24-25