There are many versions of the phrase “God wants me to be happy.”
- “God wants me to be rich.”
- “God wouldn’t want me to rush into marriage, so I’ll live with my significant other.”
- “God wouldn’t want me to deny these feelings I have for someone of the same sex.”
The list can go on and on. Usually the person saying this phrase is trying to justify a sin that God condemns. It sounds cruel to say, “God doesn’t want me to be happy!”
But then what does God want for me?
Read Genesis 3:15-19.
In these verses, God outlines the effects of sin and speaks the first promise of a Savior. What does God promise according to Genesis 3? He promises pain in childbirth, sweat and thorns in work, and the dust of the grave at the end of our lives. Consider what the result would be if he had not promised suffering. Only in suffering and pain would Adam and Eve yearn for God’s grace. Only in death would they long for heaven. The same is true for you and me!
What God wants for us
Read Mark 8:31-37.
God wants us . . . to have a cross.
In this section, the apostle Peter thought that neither he nor Jesus should have a cross in life. Peter wanted Jesus to be crowned king, garner the love and praise of all, and visibly rule. In addition, of course, Peter would be his right-hand man! We should not be too hard on Peter. We want ease in our lives too!
Instead, Jesus promises a cross as we do the most difficult thing he could ask of us: deny self. This is what makes following God’s will a cross as we struggle against our own natural will. The cross in a Christian’s life is not just suffering, but it is suffering that comes as a result of being a Christian. Jesus uses the cross in life to keep us focused on his cross.
Read Romans 7:14-25.
God wants us . . . to struggle against our sinful flesh.
Think of Luther’s explanation to the First Commandment: “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” What makes that so difficult for a Christian? The sinful flesh is at work most when you are focused on God. How is your sinful flesh at work when you are praying, listening to God’s Word, or even giving an offering?
Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
God wants us . . . to depend on him.
The apostle Paul wanted God to take away his thorn in the flesh, but God responds, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Each one of us could write our own autobiography with this verse as the title. What are some ways that God has used the crosses of life to drive you back to his own?
Read 1 Timothy 2:3,4.
God wants us . . . to be in heaven.
Did you notice the words “all people”? You are part of all people. God does not necessarily want you to be happy. He wants you to be in heaven with him, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to get you there.
Author: David Scharf
Volume 107, Number 01
Issue: January 2020
- Psalm 103: When you count your blessings
- Psalm 91: When God lifts you up on his lap
- Psalm 4: When you draw nearer to the end
- Psalm 42: When you ask, “Where is God when I’m hurting?”
- Psalm 32: When you need forgiveness
- Psalm 130: When rocks fall
- Bible study: Freedom in service
- What does this mean for me? Article 6
- Bible study: Spiritual gifts
- What does this mean for me? Article 5
- What does this mean for me? Article 4
- Bible study: Rejoice in your status!
- Bible study: Baptismal blessings
- What does this mean for me? Article 3
- What does this mean for me? Article 2
- Bible study: Gifts of tongues and miraculous healing
- What does this mean for me? Article 1
- Bible study: Jesus is everyone’s Savior
- Bible study: Love one another
- Bible study: Above all things!
- Bible study: The comfort of God’s providence
- The book of James: Waiting for Christ’s return
- Bible study: Precious grace
- The book of James: Active in using prayer
- Bible study: Rewards of grace
- The book of James: Active in showing love
- The book of James: Correctly evaluating riches
- Bible study: What’s going to happen on the Last Day?
- The book of James: Avoiding loveless judging
- Bible study: Interpretation practice
- The book of James: Taming the tongue
- Bible study: The Bible’s attributes
- Bible study: The importance of the family altar
- Bible study: God’s attitude is grace
- Bible study: The Bible’s account of Easter morning
- Bible study: Different types of sin
- Bible study: God’s inspiration
- Bible study: Giving God glory
- Bible study: Judge for yourself
- The book of James: Using the Word of Truth
- Bible study: The need for the Bible and worship
- Bible study: Citizens of two kingdoms
- The book of James: Active in good works
- The book of James: When battling temptation
- Bible study: God cares
- Bible study: God made the world
- The book of James: When facing trials
- Bible study: A loving God saved people from hell
- The book of James: A blueprint for living out our life of faith
- A Bible story just for me: Guilt
- Bible study: God provides victory over death!
- A Bible story just for me: Anxiety
- Bible study: God forgives and refuses to remember our sins
- A Bible story just for me: Grief
- Bible study: God helps those who cannot help themselves
- A Bible story just for me: Depression
- Bible study: God has not grown soft on sin
- Bible study: Only one path leads to God’s presence
- A Bible story just for me: Trauma
- A Bible story just for me
- Bible study: God wants me in heaven
- Bible study: The incarnation of our Lord