Friday, February 13, 2015

Finding Happiness for Your Soul : The Truth

There was a time in college where I really struggled with self-worth.  I had everything I needed.  Life was good.  But I wasn't happy.  Something was missing.  I needed to fill a hole in my life.  And I chose to do that with guys.  I didn't use a physical relationship to fill the hole, rather, I needed the emotional connection, the affection, the endearment to make me feel whole, happy, and fulfilled.  

That feeling of something missing is embedded in all of us.  People fill it with sex, drugs, alcohol, work, hobbies, or, in my case, relationships.  
I have a hunch as to why we feel that something is missing: our souls are longing to be happy and whole.  And our souls can only find that wholeness, that pure joy, when they are united with the Spirit of the one true God.

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Psalm 73:25-26

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

As Matthew Henry states, "There is scarcely a verse in all the psalms more expressive than this of the [sincere] and devout affections of a soul to God."  It is a beautiful statement.  One that could only be made from the soul.  For, "He, and He only, that made the soul, can make it happy; there is none in heaven, none in earth, that can pretend to do it besides" (Henry).  

There are three things that should be noted here.

Our desires should be in God alone.  Heaven sounds wonderful.  But if we make Christianity about heaven and hell instead of about God, we are missing the point.  For, "Heaven without God were a waste to this man" just as it should be for all of us (Expositor's Commentary).  And nothing on earth should hold our desires more than the Lord.  But we cannot do that when our focus is elsewhere.  The Hebrew for 'besides' is 'im which is actually translated as "with" (Strong's H5973).  So vs. 25b could actually be translated "And with You, I desire nothing on earth."  We can so easily be distracted by the things of this world. But with God, those desires can be squelched!

 Our bodies are only temporal...and not that important.  Our flesh and hearts will literally fail at some point.  Everyone dies.  It is inevitable.  For some, the failing of the flesh is a tragedy and completely overwhelming.  And while we can mourn, our soul should stay happy with the joy of the Lord.  He is our strength, or rock, as the Hebrew is literally translated (Strong's H6697).  We can always take joy, though our flesh and hearts my fail, in knowing that we will one day be with the Lord!

And lastly, with God as our portion, we should always be content.  If you lost everything, your health, your wealth, your family & friends.  Would you still be content with your portion in Christ?  Would you still be joyful?  Matthew Henry rephrases the  Psalmists words in this way, "Earth carries away the desires of most men, and yet I have none on earth, no persons, no things, no possessions, no delights, that I desire besides thee or with thee, in comparison or competition with thee."  Can you say those words?  If, like Job, you lost absolutely everything, would your joy, your happiness, your faith, remain?  Is God truly your portion?  Is He your only desire on Heaven and on earth?

I would like to think that if all were taken from me that I could still find happiness in my soul.  But I pray that I never have to find out.  There are some things I could easily put aside, my health and wealth.  But my family and close friends...that's tough.  

I will strive to place God before all of the early distractions.  And I hope that you will do the same with me.  Only then will our souls find true happiness.

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