Jesus is Our True Happiness


In the world, sex is free, and love is expensive. The loss of our phone is more painful than losing our virginity. Nudity and profanity have become a measure of social progress. If we don't drink, smoke, get medicated or use illegal drugs, we are considered old fashioned.

In the world, if we don't betray our spouse, it's because we've settled for good enough. Pizza delivery is faster than first responders. People fear terrorists more than God. Worshipping God interferes with our schedule, even at the best of times. Churches have turned into support groups.

In the world, the media repeats lies until they become a reality. Women fear pregnancy more than H.I.V. Babies are murdered so men and women can escape responsibility for unprotected sex. People are labeled "extreme" for speaking the truth. Masculinity is "toxic." Femininity was invented by toxic men to oppress women.

In the world, money is more important than God and family. It's easier to play house than make a home. Marriage vows aren't sacred or taken seriously. Children damn their parents for love of the moment, rebellion, and spite. Jumping from partner to partner for sex and attention is easier than waiting for a life-long partner. Love is a game. Evil doesn't exist.

If that's our definition of happiness, or morality, or godliness, then the world embraces us. It celebrates us. It values us. But know this, in the last days, men will be lovers of themselves. They'll love money. They'll boast, be proud, and blaspheme God’s Name. They'll be disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, and slanderous. They'll lack self-control. They'll be brutal, haters of good, and traitors to family and friends. They'll become arrogant and lovers of pleasure rather than God (1 Tim. 3:1-4).

If that’s our definition of happiness, or morality, or godliness, then the world embraces us.
— Donavon Riley

In his letter to Timothy, Paul tells it like it is. We'll be tempted to join the world's pursuit of happiness. We'll want to join the disobedient, haters of what’s good, and lovers of pleasure. Some, if not many Christians, already have. But the one who stands firm in Christ, who holds the line in faith, will be saved. We'll know true happiness when Jesus returns.

But for now, we hold fast to His promises. We cling to His baptismal grace. We trust His body and blood. We hold the line against the world. We hold fast to Christ Jesus where He’s most God, most Savior, for us: in His gifts of word, water, bread, and wine. Nothing else can take His place.

In the world, happiness leads to an increase in wickedness. What the world calls love quickly grows cold. Worldly happiness leads to deathly pain and hellish torture. But, in Christ, happiness will come. It comes through faith. It comes by carrying the heavy, vocational crosses that God lays on us. True, Godly happiness comes through self-sacrifice. It comes when we put others first because we recognize: "This is one for whom Jesus died to redeem." True, Godly happiness is only found in Christ.

Yes, we'll cry because we're sad and the world is happy. Yes, faith and crosses pain us, but our pain will turn to happiness when Jesus returns in glory.

We hold fast to Christ Jesus where He’s most God, most Savior, for us: in His gifts of word, water, bread, and wine.
— Donavon Riley

We don't have to like it. We don't have to agree with Paul. We can join the world's pursuit of happiness, morality, and godliness. We can lie to ourselves that God is happy with us when all's right in our world, our life, as we live out our truth. But, that's not THE truth.

Jesus is the Truth. Only the Truth will set us free to know true, Godly happiness as we struggle, hurt, and endure the world’s wickedness. Only with Jesus, can we enjoy true, Godly happiness.

Donavon Riley is a Lutheran pastor, conference speaker, author, Online Content Manager for Higher Things, a contributing writer for 1517, Christ Hold Fast, and LOGIA. He is also the co-host of The Banned Books podcast and the As Lutheran As It Gets podcast.