“Holiness differs nothing from happiness but in name. Holiness is happiness in the bud, and happiness is holiness at the full. Happiness is nothing but the quintessence of holiness.” ~ Brooks
One of the greatest ‘disagreements’ I had with my mom was over shoes. She wanted me to wear corrective shoes to school, which were ‘not cool’… and I wanted to wear my Converse All-stars. So every morning I would leave for school in her ‘corrective shoes’ but arrive too school in my ‘All-stars’. It seemed like a good compromise to me at the time… funny though how that choice began to affect so many other areas of my life… maintaining the façade was not always easy… always having to remember to change back before meeting my mom seems to not be a hard thing to do, until you have to live it out everyday among all the other stuff I had to deal with in life. There were times when I thought I was happy because I seemed to fit in with the crowd… but I could never say I was at peace with the whole thing. You see, a distance started to form between me and my mom… time spent with her around the dinner table, watching TV, or riding in the car became ‘uncomfortable.’ She never said anything even though I am sure she noticed that my ‘corrective shoes’ always appeared like new…. after awhile, my mom and I didn’t talk much, and I become more aware that the reason for this had to do with the shoes….
The truth I learned back then, and continue to grasp hold of today, is that happiness cannot be anchored in external things… like what shoes are considered cool or even the relationship we desire to be in. No, happiness is directly connected to living in accordance with the design, and not because we have to, but because we want to. The Psalmist writes, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. ‘But they delight in the law of the Lord’, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalms 1:1-3). I like this translation because it immediately went after the idea of joy, that quality that wells up from within us because we are in-sync with God. God has established a design with laws that are absolutely perfect, and it is when we live by these laws that were put in play to cause us to prosper and enjoy being in His presence, that we know true happiness.
I made a choice back in Jr High to wear the shoes my mom wanted me to and not change them on the way to school. Yes, it was uncomfortable, or should I say ‘not cool’, but more importantly, the distance that had formed between me and mom disappeared and I was happy!
Jesus said, ‘If you loved me, you would obey my Word’; and then He went and showed us how it was done. Paul describes His obedience this way, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8).
The Psalms, Proverbs, and even the Sermon on the Mount tell us over and over again that true happiness is found in ‘delighting in the Word of God.’ It is for this reason Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes into the presence of Absolute Perfection any other way but through me.. The living Word of God.’
I learned this in wearing a pair of ‘not so cool’ shoes. I pray you realize it as well and turn from whatever is forming a void between you and our Heavenly Father… who stands looking for you to come home. Do this, meditating on His Word day and night, and you will be ‘like the tree firmly planted by streams of water, which bears its fruit in its season.’ (Psalm 1:2-3)
Praying you choose Christ today
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.