January 10, 2008

Unhappy Christians and Happy Pagans Do Exist!

A recent poll by the folks at Gallup tell us that a majority of Americans are "happy " or "very happy" with their lives. In fact, more than 8 out of 10 (8.4 to be exact) Americans make such a statement. So how does that statistic square with your notion of having a relationship with God?

I am certain that nowhere near 84% of the population have a vibrant relationship with Jesus and yet if "happiness" depends on living in right relationship with the Creator, what do you make of it all?

We Christians need to understand that God didn't come to earth to make us "happy." He came to deal with our sin. But our culture is driven so much by experiential prosperity that we tend to make God and happiness inseparable. But casual observation should challenge that in both directions--meaning; I know some pretty miserable Christians, and some pretty happy pagans.

What this means practically is we need to shun the sales pitch for our God that if you're not happy, you need to come to Jesus and that will all change. If that is true, what do you say to the pagan who says, "But I AM happy! I don't need your God."?

I have heard Christians actually say, "No you're not happy; you only think you're happy." That is not going to sway anyone. The fact is, people can be "happy" without Christ; but they're still doomed.

The carrot that many preachers hold out to their congregations is the carrot of existential well being! "Come to Christ and all your wildest dreams will come true." But that omits a significant segment of the population who don't know God, don't care to yet are reasonably well adjusted people with relatively healthy and happy lifestyles. Do we concede they don't need Christ?

Not at all; Christ didn't come to make us happy. If you are, great, but He came to solve the damning issue of our sin not merely to give us a sense of well being. You may be happy as you march into hell, but you won't be happy once you get there. And that needs to be the thrust of our message--Come to Jesus because without Him you will perish, even if you're happy--for now.


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