When I was in school, I wanted to have a good time, be one of the guys, and get the attention of the pretty girls. Pretty standard for a fraternity guy I guess. My unstated assumption was that if I could get these things, then I would be happy. My pursuit of happiness generally consisted of working out (to impress the girls) and going out (to have a good time) all while maintaining a high GPA and BAC (like one of the guys).
However, when I started following Jesus, my lifestyle changed. Instead of getting drunk and hooking up, I started reading my Bible, praying, and attending church. What’s interesting is that while my lifestyle changed, my goals didn’t. My ultimate goals still revolved around my personal comfort and happiness. I just went about them in a more religious way.
That’s when I realized that God and I had very different goals for my life...
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
What is God’s ultimate goal (or destiny) for life? What does God use to accomplish this goal?
Why do you think this is God’s goal and plan for life?
How do your desires and goals align with God’s? How are they similar? Different?
How might working to align your goals with God’s lead to greater happiness?
What is God’s ultimate goal for your life? To make you more like Jesus.
That is, to use your time, spend your money, treat your friends, and live your life as Jesus would if he were you. God uses “all things” to accomplish this, including both the good and the bad. The good times and the bad break ups are all means God uses to help you become more like Jesus. He does this all for your “good” because he wants what’s best for you.
In the end, God wants to give us a greater happiness than we could ever achieve on our own, but it’s only found in pursuing him.
As I continued to follow Jesus, I realized that God’s ultimate goal for my life wasn’t to just replace my current lifestyle with a more religious one. It was to replace my ultimate desire for personal happiness with a desire for him. The crazy part was that the more I aligned my desires and goals with God’s the more happy and content I became. When I pursued happiness on my own, I found neither happiness nor God, but by pursuing him, I found both.
God doesn’t want you to just be happy. He wants you to be just like him.
Take a moment to reflect on this question:
If Jesus were living your life- working at your job, hanging out with your brothers/sisters, going to your classes- how would he live your life? What would be the same and what would be different?
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