Saturday, December 26, 2009

Satan's most successful lie

"I DESERVE to be happy!"

That is one of Satan's most successful lies. We are a society of people who like to think that we are 'entitled' to everything we want. This attitude goes against the very core of Christianity.

It's not that God is opposed to happiness. He WANTS us to be happy. But He wants us to seek after TRUE happiness. Satan has us chasing illusions of happiness.

How do we know the difference?

If achieving this 'happiness' involves sinning against the very God who created us and who so lovingly sent his only Son to die for us, then we are not 'entitled' to seek after it. We will not find it there anyway because true happiness can not be found apart from God. It just can't.

If achieving this 'happiness' means hurting other people - then we do not 'deserve' this happiness. What gives us the right to seek happiness at another person's expense?

If achieving this 'happiness' means we have to break a personal vow or commitment to God or another, we do not 'deserve' it.

No matter the package Satan wraps it in - if the illusion goes against God's plan for us, it's just that - an illusion. It will bring us and the people around us misery and pain.

True Joy

There are SO many people around me who struggle. They are unhappy with their life circumstances. It's interesting - but painful - to watch their coping techniques.

Many THINK they know the secret to happiness. "If only I could find a different job." "If only I could be married." "If only my spouse was different." "If only I could lose this weight."

Many actively pursue these changes. Some go so far as to leave their spouse of many years. Some look for other jobs. Many do the on again /off again diet thing! Some don't pursue any changes in their lifestyle - they just fall into depression because they've convinced themselves that they are never going to be happy.

I want to shout at them all that none of the changes they seek will ever make them happy. The changes may FOOL them into thinking they're happy for awhile. But the new boss will disappoint just like the last boss. And the new spouse will be less perfect as time goes on. The weight may come off but other health issues will arise.

Outside circumstances do NOT determine happiness. Happiness comes from within. It comes from being grateful for what we have rather than envious of what we don't have. And the truth of the matter is - if we foster a relationship with God our Father, true joy will come. It will be a part of our very being and it will be present in our lives no matter what the outer circumstances are.

It REALLY is that simple. But most people don't believe it. They work backwards. They think they have to get the outside circumstances right themselves and THEN they'll seek a relationship with their Father in heaven. Oh, how I wish I could make them understand. It's so hard to see them struggling.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Two Worlds

I live in two worlds. That's what I have to remember. There is the physical world - which is everything I experience with my senses. And there is the spiritual world which I can only experience through my faith.

The spiritual world is a little bit tougher to live in - I guess because my senses are better developed than my faith and at times they want to take over! The physical world has a big influence on me because it's LOUD and visible. The spiritual world is laid back and it doesn't force itself on me. I have to seek it out and sometimes it's hard to remember to do that!

I envision two overlapping circles - one being the physical world and the other being the Kingdom of God (the Spiritual world.) I am standing firmly in the part that overlaps. At any given time, I can go either way - step into either world. I've noticed that I LIKE stepping into the spiritual world - the Kingdom of God. It's warm and cozy there. I feel love and joy. But I've noticed that often I only put one foot in at a time. Kind of like testing the waters. Not sure I want to jump in with both feet. So, one foot stays firmly planted in the physical world. Occasionally, I make the leap! I must not jump in too far though because I always manage to find my way back!

What's it like to take the LEAP into the Kingdom of God? It's truly forgiving somebody who has hurt me - and then praying for them! It's doing something nice for somebody and not wanting to be recognized for it. It's visiting the lady at the nursing home - when I'd rather be home taking a nap! It's refusing to be negative about others when I don't feel appreciated. It's recognizing MY faults and shortcomings instead of focusing on the meanness of other people. It's about recognizing the GOODNESS in me (because that is GOD in me)AND the goodness in others. Because everybody has both.

When I LEAP into the physical world, I hold onto hurts. I become angry and bitter and negative. I do nice things - but make sure people know about it. I let down the lady at the nursing home. I complain constantly so everybody knows I'm unhappy and have been treated unfairly. I refuse to work on my own faults but sure wish everybody else would work on theirs so I wouldn't have to complain so much. I see only what's wrong with the world - and don't do a thing to help it!

The thing about it is, in reality both worlds totally overlap at all times. So every time I LEAP into the Kingdom - I bring the Kingdom to the physical world. I make it a better place (or rather, I allow God to make it a better place through me.)And every time I LEAP into the physical world, I make it a darker place (or rather, I allow Satan to make it darker through me.)

God tries to lead me more toward the spiritual. He gives me the grace to respond to that leading but sometimes I guess I squander the grace He gives me. Forgive me, Lord. I want to live for YOU alone!