~ More thoughts on this. I went to a friends the other night and we had lively discussions on all sorts of things. Some things that I wound up thinking about later on had to do with happiness, a topic I research from time to time. Here are my in process after-thoughts.
(H1) All people seek happiness.
(H2) All people do not simply seek happiness, but they seek lasting, abiding happiness.
– They do not simply want happiness for a day or an hour but they want as much of it as possible for as long as possible. An infinite amount for an eternity of time if possible.
Problems loom however in the pursuit of happiness.
(Problem 1) People seek lasting, abiding (i.e. infinite) happiness.
– Believe it or not seeking happiness itself is a problem. Christians are actually not supposed to seek it. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things – happiness included – will be added to you as well (Matthew 6:33). This is because happiness is a by-product. My thought on this comes from William Lane Craig (see blog post below).
(Problem 2) People seek lasting, abiding (i.e. infinite) happiness in finite things that are incapable of providing any happiness whatsoever.
~ Illustration 1: The drug addict or alcoholic thinking that the next fix will provide that happiness.
~ Illustration 2: The businessman racing to accumulate wealth, thinking that this will result in happiness.
~ Illustration 3: This is like trying to withdraw a ridiculously high amount of money from a bank account where the balance is $0.0.
(Problem 3) People seek lasting, abiding (i.e. infinite) happiness in finite things that can only provide some (i.e. a finite) amount of happiness.
– The problem is that some is never enough. Some runs out. Some takes us too soon to feeling hollow and empty.
~ Illustration 1: Seeking happiness in a boyfriend or girlfriend or in marriage – in a husband or wife.
~ ~ The problem here is that you have no guarantees on life. Reality bites and that too quite suddenly quite often. You have no guarantee on what a day may bring. Your significant other could just simply go to sleep tonight and never wake up. (I also want to note that the Bible teaches that marriage is a temporary finite phenomena (Matthew 22).)
~ Illustration 2: This is like trying to withdraw a ridiculously high amount of money from a bank account where the balance is $100.00.
*Note: This does not mean we reject everything in the name of pursuing God. That is self-denial carried to the extreme. It is some kind of asceticm. Rather we understand the proper place and role of the world and the things in it. Additionally we realize that these all come from God and so we receive them from Him as such – for our enjoyment while still understanding their limitations.
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
Finish this later… thoughts to process
– Whom have i in heaven but you… Edwards sermon.
– Look up Asherism – Charry /
– Clark book on terms
– Striking the balance btwn God-only ascetism and World-only hedonism.
– Joy deposits and dividends. You do not make dividends happen.
– – Illustration: Don’t pursue the dividend. Instead seek first the right stock and the dividends will be added to you as well.
– Resolve other issues with joy… Nehemiah to contemporaries like Piper / Jerry Bridges
– relation to self-love