Friday, October 09, 2009

Holy, not happy

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalm 112:1 (NIV):

“Praise the Lord.

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,

Who finds great delight in his commands.”

Psalms 111-118 are considered the “hallelujah” or “praise the Lord” songs. These are meant to be uplifting and optimistic for the future. At the time they were written, they were meant for the future return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon. The redemption offered here means the recovery of something or someone for a payment or ransom. At the time, the Jews were in slavery, but Jesus gave his life as a perfect sacrifice, thus allowing all people to come into the presence of God. Previously, only Jews could be in God’s presence in the Most Holy Place.

Whoever you are and wherever you are, you can come to the throne of God whenever you need. God is a constant presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit. This is a great message for single adults who are struggling to find their way. Some people might call their previous marriage slavery. Some might call their current singleness a form of slavery. Still others who have remarried might feel a slave with little happiness. You might feel like a slave to debt or to your office. And then there are addictions.

OK, you’re saying, where does this “hallelujah” part come in? This all sounds rather unhappy. My wife and I are taking a marriage class right now called “Sacred Marriage,” by Gary Thomas. The subtitle of chapter 1 reads “A Call to Holiness More Than Happiness.” You may be saying, “But I want to be happy!” That’s my point. What Thomas means is that God wants us to seek holiness first, not happiness. Too many people think too often that life is about being happy all the time. Yet, the psalmists looked at suffering as a part of life.

What we need to realize is that we can be happy during troubling times. We become happy in all things by turning to the Lord in all things—and not just amid struggles. This psalmist says that we will be blessed when we fear the Lord, or “revere” him. When we delight in his commands, it means we want to be obedient. The key to being happy is to be holy first. We do that by walking with the Lord in a personal relationship every day. When we become holy, we become better people, whether we’re single, separated or married. That holiness factor makes us more loving and lovable, a trait that God wants us all to have. That’s how you become holy in all things.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, make me holy, like your son, Jesus. Help me to seek the things of your kingdom today. Amen

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