“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”” John 16:33
““Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mt. 16:19-21
“Need help with that?” I asked a homeless man as he attempted to hoist his big cart filled with this and that and the other up onto the curb of the sidewalk after he’d crossed the street.
No, he didn’t need help. Not that kind of help anyway. And the help he really needed wasn’t help he wanted.
Not too long into the conversation, I offered him my Gospel tract which includes my personal story. He took one quick look at my holding the booklet out toward him before he said vehemently something to the effect of this. If it had ANYTHING to do with JESUS, NO WAY!
We spent a good 10 or 15 minutes from that moment forward talking about exactly that. Well, sort of. I talked about the Lord Jesus Christ. He talked about how he was a staunch atheist and how NO WAY was he going to budge one iota. For one simple reason. If God couldn’t give him the promise of happiness on this earth, right now and the whole way through it seemed, no way was he going to believe in Him. In his estimate, Christians aren’t always happy people. And he was happy, thank you very much. So why should he believe in Jesus Christ as Lord?
Never mind he was headed straight for eternity in hell and the lake of fire apart from God where happiness will never exist not even for a moment. Never mind repentance and faith in and receiving Christ as Lord are the way through which we receive God’s grace, forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life. Never mind Jesus didn’t promise us eternal bliss on earth but that He in fact said we would have tribulations but that He’s overcome the world. Never mind anything at all but what this man was totally stuck on. HAPPINESS. Earthly, worldly, temporal, fleeting, right-this-moment fleshly feeling of “I am happy” so leave me alone.
We parted ways with kindness and not an ounce of anger or discontent. Not on his end anyway. He left perfectly happy, or so he thought. I can’t say I left altogether content. For two reasons. First, I’m not what I would describe as a happy woman. Not in terms of worldly circumstances. I’m a JOY-FILLED woman because 24-7 I have the JOY OF JESUS living inside me coupled with the promise of forever with Him no matter my day to day challenges. Second, I’m not at all thrilled to say the least in the way of happiness when I talk to someone who is so obsessed with being happy on this earth that he or she is willing to give up eternity with God and spend forever in torment just for a little bit of pleasure in this life.
Only the Lord knows what He will do with the seed He planted through me in that man’s heart, and what the man will do ultimately when it comes to repenting and giving his life to Christ – or not. But I know we parted ways with me having a fresh reminder of this message I share with you now.
Earthly, worldly, temporary, fleshly happiness is not worth giving up forever for. Plenty of Christians are happy, and some are not. Some are sometimes, some are much if not most of the time, and some rarely if ever are because they face unbelievably hard trials and tribulations. But, my friend, this life isn’t meant to be about fleshly happiness. It’s meant to be about the INDESCRIBABLE JOY found in THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – and in being His forever when we repent and turn our hearts and lives over to God and His ways for eternity.
Got temporal happiness through the fleeting treasures and pleasures of this life? Nothing wrong with enjoying God’s material tangible touchable present day physical blessings on this earth, but at the end of the day what would you rather have? Fleeting pleasure and hell and the lake of fire forever – or a forever relationship with God almighty in Christ with the promise of being in a place with glorious God where immeasurable bliss and joy and rejoicing and worship will go on forever – and ever – and ever more? I would rather be Christ’s forever – and ever. AMEN!