If God Wants Me to Be Happy . . .
So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn.” Genesis 27:18-19
With just a little twisted logic, I can start with a premise that sounds spiritual and then justify almost any evil, all while blaming it on God. For instance, I can say, God wants me to be happy. That sounds like it might be right. On the surface, it appeals to God’s will. So, if I start there, then I can easily make the leap that whatever makes me happy must be God’s will. My morality is now simply determined by my impulsive appetite. I want it. I think it will make me happy. It must be God’s will. Suddenly, I can rationalize adulterous relationships, drugs, anger, cheating, stealing, and lying. I did this in my addiction. God wants me to be a good physician. To be a good physician I need to sleep. To sleep, I need drugs. God wants me to use drugs.
Something very similar happened in today’s passage. In it, Isaac planned to pass on his blessing to his oldest and favorite son, Esau. Go kill something and make me my favorite meal. Then I’ll bless you. Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, overheard the conversation and schemed to have Jacob receive the blessing him instead. Years before, God revealed to Rebekah that her older child (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob). So, she believed that Jacob should get the blessing. Starting with that premise – This is God’s will – she could now justify any evil to make that happen. So, she and Jacob lied, fooling Isaac into blessing Jacob.
God wants me to be happy and successful, therefore, whatever I must do to get there, is justified. That’s a dangerous theology. First, God does desire that we experience joy, but he desires that we find joy only in a loving relationship with him. We don’t find authentic life by pursuing our appetite and we certainly don’t find life, joy, and peace in sin. God may want us to experience joy, but if we find ourselves justifying evil to get there, then we’ve gone terribly wrong. God doesn’t ask us to sin. In following our appetite above all though, we can easily convince ourselves that simply because we want something, God must want it too.
The Christian life however, is about abandoning our will for God’s (Luke 9:23). Daily, we must ask ourselves if we’re following God’s desires or our own. Our desires lead us to justify evil. God though, never asks us to sin. Only in following God’s will, do we find authentic joy, life, and peace.