Holiness and Happiness: A recipe for a fulfilled life

1 Sam 15:22-23

*"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king."*

When I was a kid I remember singing a line from a hymn which

stated “trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus… than to trust and obey”. I think modern Christianity does an excellent job teaching us about the infinite love of the father, but it often is lacking in its teaching on why we should trust and obey him. As I have gotten older I have learned that the reason that God gives us commands is not to burden us but to bless us, for in his commands are the instructions to live a joyful and fulfilled life. The Lord created us and he knows more about who we are than we ever will, which is why he desires us to trust him… not so he can rob us of pleasure but so he can reward us with peace. In the scripture above, I am reminded that Saul is not so different than we are…. We all sometimes think that what God wants from us is some grand sacrifice, but we learn in this passage what God really wants is a daily devotion to him. As an attorney, I have sadly seen my fair share of divorces, and one thing that I have seen in the marriages that work is that both parties are committed to putting their spouses needs above their own. I see a lot of bad husbands who on a daily basis ignore their wives, and then do some grand gesture every now and then to prove to them that they love them. But all the wife wanted was for the husband to be there for her and to daily show her small acts of love.

I think it is great when people do mission work or share their faiths in distant places, but the Christians I have seen who make the most difference are the ones who try to share their faith with the people in their life, and look for opportunities to love and serve others. I see younger Christians often trying to do great acts of sacrifice because they really desire to be significant ,and though I applaud and encourage them, I have seen many of them get burned out because it is so hard to maintain that level of intensity. I think all believers will get some great opportunities to share their faith and spectacular ways, but I know that what will keep believers faithful is that consistent walk with God. In the illustration I used about marriage I think it is wonderful when a man makes grand romantic gestures toward his wife, but that is only wonderful when it is coupled with a daily devotion to serving and loving her and putting her needs above his own. All of us are aware that we could be doing more to serve and love God and others, but sometimes we forget that all we need to do to begin the journey is to set aside a few minutes in prayer and in the word each day and build on that. If you don’t know where to start I recommend James because it is so practical and has so much useful teaching about what a life devoted to Christ should look like. In my own life, I have found that the times I was distant from God where the times I was “waiting” for him to do something. But faith is never passive it is always active and if we wait around until we want to seek God we never will. Pursuing God is a daily choice and sometimes we don’t feel like it, just like that good husband may not feel like pursuing his wife everyday…. But when we choose to do the right thing regardless of how we feel God often blesses us with such a deep sense of peace and joy that it makes serving others a blessing and not a burden. I challenge you to spend time in prayer this day and seek the Lord. Every great journey starts with a single step and if you will take that step the Lord will walk with you all the way.

About the Author: I am a Birmingham attorney who has been in private practice for over six years. I have a general practice, so I get the opportunity to help serve people who find themselves in some very difficult circumstances. My e-mail is reidfirm@gmail.com. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it encourages you. I always love getting thoughtful comments, so please email those to me. My website is www.reidlawalabama.com. If you know anyone who is going through a difficult situation whether it be legal or personal and they are in Birmingham area you can e-mail me at chris.reid@reidlawalabama.com. Our firm works with some excellent faith based counselors, many of whom are free or low cost. A lot of the times the legal issues people face are due to deeper underlying issues like substance abuse and other things. I have found the most effective form of treatment is getting a personally qualified counselor who helps get to the root of the issues someone is dealing with, and we will help people get connected for free (we never take a payment for referral fee for this). Again my website is www.reidlawalabama.com, which contains my contact information. God Bless.