Once in youth group I asked the young people what they thought God wanted for their lives. There was a variety of answers, some good, others not so good. One that came up a couple of times was the idea that God just wanted them to be happy. The idea of personal happiness at the expense of everything else is one that I think sums up a lot of what is wrong with our world today.
I am always a bit staggered when people justify behaviour by saying ‘As long as I’m happy that’s all that counts.’ or the old chestnut ‘It’s my life I can do what I want.’ The core of Jesus’ message points us to others over ourselves, to find our happiness in the act of making others happier.
Maybe you have dropped the happiness line in the past, I know I have. The thing is selfishness is something we all face on multiple levels, I learned this after getting married. Going from waking up alone and only having to think about my needs to having another person right there. This will be even more evident when our little boy arrives in August.
If these words have hit a nerve with you today, if you think ‘How dare he judge me!?’ or get annoyed I want to ask you to do one thing, a challenge if you will. For the next week let’s all agree to go out of our way to make someone else happy, and let’s make it people outside of our immediate family. Let’s use the hashtag #weekofhappiness and blog, tweet and Facebook our stories from the week. The best cure for selfishness is selflessness.
Philippians 2:3-11 ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’