When Christians want their own way

God wants us to be happy, right? He loves us, so it would follow logically that He wants us to have everything we want and to be happy all the time. That’s what many people think. That’s what much of the culture believes. That’s the concept that many Christians cling to and convince others of.

And I guess it isn’t untrue. God does want us to be happy but not at the expense of growth. He does want us to have everything we want but not at the expense of our witness. More

My apricot tree

My apricot tree - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is 2 Samuel 11:25.

“Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!”

On first glance, this verse doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what God wants for our lives. So to really understand, you need to know what’s going on in the story. Because if you just read the statement, you would think that David is simply trying to encourage his general, but if you know the story behind it, you will be shocked at its callousness.

This is David’s response after he arranged the death (murder) of Uriah the Hittite, a loyal, innocent man. All for the sake of legalizing his affair with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.

It’s a cold, callous, cruel statement. Basically just washing his hands of the whole situation, pretending he had nothing to do with it, acting as though Uriah was simply another casualty of war and not someone who was murdered without reason.

This is David! The man after God’s own heart! How did the boy who killed a giant with God’s aid become a man who could he do something so evil? So wrong? And then turn around and act like it was no big deal? How can someone who loved God so much do something so horrible?

Well, maybe the answer is complicated, but the root of the issue is simple: David wanted his own way. He convinced himself that God wanted him to be happy and that he deserved to have everything he wanted.

He thought Bathsheba was beautiful. And he wanted her. So he took her. And when something threatened the happiness he found with Bathsheba (her husband), he had him killed. David eventually came back to his senses, but it took a lot of pain to get him there. And he never really recovered. And neither did his family. If you read the history, you can trace all the rest of the trouble David had throughout the remainder of his reign and life to this single act. Consequences of a poor choice.

David pursued happiness with Bathsheba, even though he knew it was wrong. And he hurt people — not just the people around him at the time. He hurt his children. And his grandchildren. And his grandchildren’s children. He wrecked his reign of Israel. The consequences of his choice damaged his entire country, because he had been given a position of authority and he took it for granted.

So how are we different from David?

We want the things we want no matter if God has said it’s wrong or not. We want our own way, even if God has told us that way ends in death. We think we know better. And we rationalize our foolish choices because we think God wants us to be happy, and we think that being happy means getting our own way. But desiring our own way no matter what turns us into people who hurt others. It’s so backward. You would think that desiring your own way and acting on those desires would make you happy–but it doesn’t. If anything, it makes you unhappier than you were before. Because happiness is temporary.

The difference is desiring what lasts.

You can chase happiness all you want. You can pursue your wants and desires all day long. But at the end of the day, those things are going to end. Your circumstances are going to change. And then the things you thought you wanted and the happiness you sacrificed the people you loved for won’t be enough anymore.

God does want us to be happy, but above all else He wants us to be like Him. He wants us to desire the things He desires. He wants us to love Him and to love people and to live the kind of life that He would live. He wants us to desire the things that are right.

Desiring God’s way and acting on those desires may not always seem common sensical. Actually, it may seem foolish. It may seem like you’re signing your life away or giving up on a dream or sentencing yourself to a life of poverty. But doing what God wants is never foolish, and He always blesses it.

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