It’s one of the most famous quotes of the Declaration of Independence “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. We have a culture that constantly tells us: “ “do what makes you happy” and “if it feels good do it”. Even if your motivates are selfish, go against God, and will bring you harm later, if it feels good and will make you happy in the moment do it. People have such a distorted vision of what will bring them happiness, and they shouldn’t center their whole life finding it.
I’ve searched the bible from start to finish and I have found hundreds and hundreds of verses about doing what makes God happy, doing what is pleasing to God, but I have never found a verse saying in support of doing what makes you happy, or what is pleasing to you. Many things that bring us happiness in the moment bring us harm in the future.
Think of a student that had a recent exam coming up, he had been given two choices, choice A: go out partying for the night instead of studying for the exam….or choice B: stay in and study and miss out on the party. If he went out partying it would be fun, he would be able to socialize and he would have been a lot happier than staying inside….if he chose to stay inside and study he would be less happy, especially if his material he was studying was not fun. If he picked choice A, it would have been a fun night but there would have been a consequence….he did what was pleasing in the moment and now he has failed his test….if he picked choice B he wouldn’t have had a fun night studying but he would have been prepared for the test. Doing what makes us feel good, or what makes us happy in the moment can bring heavy consequences, it should not be our sole guiding moral compass that people think it should be.
The happiness principle is not biblical at all, all the way back to Adam and Eve, (Genesis 3:1-19). Think of when Eve wanted to eat the fruit God said was forbidden, the serpent told her if she ate it she would be fine, she wanted to eat the fruit because it was alluring, pleasing in the moment, and thought it would bring her many powers, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it”-Genesis 3:6. She and her husband did what made them happy in the moment and because of that it brought them made punishments. Think how different this world would be if we replace the slogan of do what makes you happy to do what makes God happy….think what a different world we would live in today.