I have heard so many parents tell me lately “I just want my kids to be happy”. Unfortunately, this has now crossed thresholds in our Christian homes that places a value on happiness over all else – even sin. There have been a number of instances where an adult, married child has decided to leave their spouse and they end up committing adultery and beginning a new relationship with someone new. Too often, Christian parents respond today by proclaiming: “I just want my child to be happy”.
I want and pray for more than just happiness for my Children. My boys are both young adults now and I desire that they have a close relationship with Christ. I pray that they are always in the midst of God’s Will. I expect them to always place integrity and character at a high level. I pray that they put others needs and comforts above themselves.
When Jesus had finished washing the Disciples feet He proclaimed to His hearers that if they would follow His example “happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17). So, ironically, in God’s system – when you don’t seek happiness but serve others – you end up with happiness. Searching after our own happiness shows our selfishness and pride of life.
So I am not looking for my boys to “just be happy”. I am looking for them to be the men that God wants them to be – and in doing that they will indeed find happiness.
When hiking the Appalachian Trail the hiker is burning calories at a tremendous rate. When coupled with the fact that the hiker can only carry a small amount of food with him, the hiker is always looking for the next town, restaurant, hostel or anywhere else he can buy a meal. Hikers love to find buffet’s where they can eat as much as they want. The hiker is often surprised at how much more they can eat now at a single meal than they ever would have eaten before. They refer to this appetite as ‘hiker hunger’.
In the Christian life we are supposed to be “hungering and thirsting after righteousness”. Too often it seems the Christian is nibbling at the Word of God or sampling at the truth. The Christian should have ‘hiker hunger’ – a strong, unabated desire for the truth of God’s Word. There should be a deep seated hunger to learn more, hear more and study more about God. Christians don’t have a hiker hunger for God because they have become couch potatoes for God. We are content to nibble and snack here or there. It’s time we get hungry for truth and righteousness!
The Appalachian Trail is famous for being a well marked trail. The ‘White blazes’ which mark the trail are 2″ by 6″ and there are tens of thousands of these markings that show the way for both north and south bound hikers. It may take a bit of diligence in some areas to find the blaze, but for the most part the entire 2185 miles is well marked and easy to follow.
Jesus Christ told us “If you love me; keep my commandments”. The way of the Savior might be “straight and narrow” but it is easily marked. We don’t have to wander around looking for the right way because the way is clearly marked. The Lord gave us some clear markings for our walk:
1) He gave us his written Word – the precious Word of God that tells us exactly what God expects of us and how exactly He has reached out to us.
2) He walked Himself as an example for us. Christ came to this earth and was ‘tempted in all ways as we are’. He endured this life and lived a perfect example.
3) They Holy Spirit. God has given us the Holy Spirit of God to reside within us as the temple of the living God to direct us, remind us, correct us and comfort us.
4) Those that have gone on before. God has given us Godly examples, both the examples within the Word of God and those who are more contemporary in order to give us a guide and an example of how to live for Him.
We may not have ‘White blazes’ to follow – in fact – we have so much more. We are therefore – Without Excuse!