“I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).
Don’t worry. Be happy.
That’s the mantra of our generation. Unfortunately, this philosophy has infiltrated the minds of disciples. The way most modern day disciples live, one would think that the ultimate goal of Christian discipleship is to discover and live into one’s happiness.
But there’s not a single passage in all of scripture that says, “Be happy.” There’s nothing in all of scripture to suggest that happiness is the goal of Christian discipleship.
But there are lots of references to calling disciples to be holy. You can find that in both the Old Testament and the New. You can find it in the gospels and in the epistles. It’s all over scripture.
Be holy because God is holy.
This doesn’t mean that God isn’t interested in his followers being happy. God delights in delighting his children. What parent doesn’t? But happiness is the byproduct of being holy. Happiness is what disciples experience when they pursue the life Christ calls to live. It’s in obedience and holiness that disciples experience happiness. Happiness is a byproduct of disciple’s holiness.
Pursue holiness and you get happiness. Pursue happiness and you lose your way and will never experience it.
Leonard Ravenhill, a reformed theologian, writes: “The tragedy today is that the church is pursuing happiness not holiness.”
I think Mr Ravenhill is onto something.
Be holy and you will be happy.
That’s the way it works.