Treacherous Happiness

I know a lot of godless but sorta-kinda-spiritual people who are very happy with their lives. Many of them, especially those in my neck of the woods (the South), even consider themselves “blessed and highly favored.” These people do not seek God, cherish Christ, or walk in the faith and obedience of the gospel. Their present manner of living looks nothing like the new life that the Spirit gives. But regardless of their lack of interest in the true God, and despite how cheerfully they indulge in the evils he despises, they sincerely believe their happiness of heart is indicative of his loving pleasure toward them.

The Bible diagnoses things a bit differently. In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul explained that happy contentment in sin is not an indicator of God’s pleasure or favor, but of his wrath.

Many people think of God’s wrath only in hellfire and brimstone terms. One day, this terrifying manifestation of God’s indignation will be the unending experiential reality of all whose names are not written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:15). But on this side of the Judgment, the way God most often demonstrates his wrath is by giving people over to all their sinful, soul-destroying delights.

Notice the progression of Paul’s argument in Romans 1:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth . . . although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened . . .

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves . . .

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions . . .

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” – Romans 1: 18, 21, 24, 26, 28

Is your conscience unbothered while you revel in activities that the Bible declares impure? If so, it’s because God, in his wrath, has given you over to impurity. Do you, without a twinge of conviction, delight in pursuing and satisfying unnatural desires? If you do, it’s because God, in his wrath, has given you over to dishonorable passions. Is your life filled with things the Scriptures say ought not to be done? Are you untroubled by this? If so, it’s because God, in his wrath, has given you over to a debased mind.

Hear me, though—this does not have to be the end of your story! Though God’s wrath rests upon you while you remain in unbelief and rebellion (John 3:18), he also extends a merciful hand of salvation toward you. Anyone who will turn from the treacherous happiness they find in their sin and take shelter in the grace of Jesus Christ, God will freely pardon and give a new heart—a heart that desires to pursue the holy happiness in God for which we were all made!

If today you find yourself feeling happy or even “blessed” in an unrepentant way of life, my prayer for you is that God would: 1) graciously trouble your sin-treasuring heart and 2) draw you to his sinner-saving Son. The joy Jesus gives is so much better than the cheap, fleeting, and deceptive happiness sin gives. Only when you know him will you really understand what it means to be blessed.

  • Charles

    Matt, a BIG AMEN to your article. I am so grateful and so thankful to the Lord for the conviction he brings into my heart, mind and soul every time I get tempted with sin, same sex attraction or be it any sin. This wonderful conviction which should be treasured by all believers, keeps us seeking and asking the Lord’s forgiveness, and asking for His strength to keep walking the narrow path He has set before us. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and will empower and guide us as we seek to be more like Jesus!

  • Lyle Nelson

    I think that all too often we use how we are doing in life, according to the measuring stick of the world around us, as an indicator of God’s view of us, rather than His written Word. if we have all we need and then some, a good marriage, children that aren’t causing any problems, and all the “toys” we want, well then God must think pretty highly of us, or we wouldn’t have all this. Never once do we dig deeply enough into His Word to see that this NOT how He measures us. To quote Matthew 5:45, “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” It is too easy to confuse His blessings with His approval.

    Sometimes it is only when we have problems in life and things begin to fall apart, that we take the time to really examine God’s Word against our lives and note the differences in what He requires and how we have lived. And problems do NOT necessarily mean that anything is wrong, For God’s people have, and indeed are promised that they will have, problems in this life as well. But God in His mercy may use problems only to get our attention and cause us to do the self-examination of our lives that we should have been doing all along.

    We often don’t view problems as a blessing, even though they may be the tools God uses to save us.

  • I was not happy at all in the gay life. It is painted as some grand party. and all about love. It isn’t. Still. God gave me what I wanted, and all I got was ten minutes of pleasure along with two days of guilt. I finally became celibate almost thirteen years ago (late September 2004). It is not an easy slog, but it has made me closer to Him, as I have to rely on Him daily to override my passions for the same sex. The LGBT community spouts off that one is born this way. I view this as fatalistic, that a person has to live this way and has no choice in the matter. This is crap. I choose to be celibate and not give in to my passions, and so because of my homosexuality and desire for God, I am closer to Him.

    • Regan DuCasse

      In all the time we’ve exchanged comments, you’ve been a lot less civil to me, than the other way around. I left this sitefor a while, until a comment you posted came into my feed.
      I’ll say this to you.
      It’s clear, that you’re conflating sexual orientation, with weakness.
      Weakness is something that is in individuals, NOT an entire category of people.
      It’s a fact, that minorities in particular, who have endured specific libel of their identity, are diverse…and biology does not protect a person from systemic prejudice and threat.
      The gay person is specifically singled out for this, because the characteristics are more distinct.
      Continue to say it’s the entire of a group, rather than individuals who are the problem, that is what foments bigotry and the results of bigotry have always been the problem.
      I’d be happy for your walk with God and Christ, except what you use them for.
      Being celibate, not giving into passions, not having a romantic life: that’s actually quite easy.
      Except perhaps for that individual who is obsessed with sex, and is detached from emotional bonding with it.
      But again, that’s individuals, heterosexual or homosexual. It’s not the sexual orientation that’s the issue.
      ONLY gay people are supposed to blame THEIRS.
      I wouldn’t let you near a gay young person with the attendant vulnerability, and insecurity that comes with being a teen. But certainly with being gay.
      There isn’t a credible psychiatrist, doctor or sociologist that agrees with you. Because the facts, stats and evidence is in.
      Best of luck with what you do as an individual and the path you’ve chosen.
      I’m guessing considering your statement, you should be quite content to stay away from gay people and should, from gay young people in particular.
      So do so.
      For all concerned, the gay community would be much better off without you.

      • Proverbs 26:1-12

        • Regan DuCasse

          It’s not just my opinion, about this.
          And you’re not engaging the sociological/historical factor about issuing blanket negative character statements about an entire group.
          When it’s YOUR group, there is a psychology there that isn’t healthy.
          And as I said, every credible doctor, psychiatrist and sociologist backs that up.
          Throwing a Biblical reference at a person of science, doesn’t make sense.
          The folks who wrote those books 2,000 ago, didn’t have the credentials, nor reference points most people do now.
          Again, you’re using material….not a real connection to speak for you.
          And material, that’s been used to do as much harm as good.
          Which is why a person would be right to suspect in which way YOU are, or any OTHER Christian.
          Results matter, and you insist the results for your personal experience should speak for themselves.
          if it did, there would BE no arguments or challenge.
          Nobody does that for fun, but out of the clear necessity of recognizing when it’s used for prejudice, and used for PERSONAL enlightenment.
          Own that much at least.

          • Have a nice life Regan. Go to your marches against the President. Wave the rainbow flag around. Ignore ISIS throwing gays off buildings. Just try not to step on the dead who were sacrificed on the alter of ‘born that way’.

          • Regan DuCasse

            Misjudging as usual. I haven’t been to a march against the President. Haven’t even been to a Pride event in YEARS.
            What a sick retort coming from you that ISIS throws gay people off buildings.
            That’s right, and Russians beat, arrest and jail gay people in that country.
            WHY?
            Because THEY believe the same as YOU do about gay people.
            That they are sexually wonton, are a threat or useless to society because of it.

            YOU believe that, as do all those cultures that would just as soon see gay people dead.
            But you think they already ARE dead, if they don’t lock step the way you believe they should.
            So since your beliefs square with that of ruthless, brutal countries and what they think of gay people (as did the people who wrote and were of Biblical cultures), how is it MY fault that gay people have problems?

            And clearly, you can go about YOUR life without having to take the risks and the weight of it.
            Thanks to those of us, that have protected and served (including gay men and women peace officers who served in the military at one time in their lives).

            So your retort was stupid and meant to insult me and gay people who obviously and clearly can function better than you ever could. And with their living by example, more gay youngsters would be at far less risk, than you using the Biblical closet that’s already been tried and failed for so many.
            Not a matter of opinion or theory, but a well known fact.
            Sadly, if you didn’t have any good gay examples in your life, that’s not gay folk’s fault either. I’ve found plenty of them.
            You have to BE who you want to attract sometimes.
            And since you’re not an example yourself, then that’s just how your life played out.
            But all you harp on are stereotypes. And you can’t engage the conversation on the danger of fomenting prejudice based on stereotypes, means.
            ISIS kills all kinds of people.
            Friends of my roommate who performed with Ariana Grande in Manchester, called us to assure us they were alright.
            But the bombing there, got them shook bad.
            This is the fourth time we’ve all had to check in with each other because of terror attacks in Europe.
            You just use your beliefs as a license to misjudge.
            I HAVE a nice life.
            I’m committed to doing more when it comes to law enforcement and protecting ALL people and using my skill as a forensic artist in the same endeavor.
            You just keep on thinking that being born gay isn’t a legitimate and biological function of sexual orientation. And that it’s negative, undesirable and causes dysfunction.
            As you like to say, you’re entitled to your opinion.
            And that’s ALL it is on your part. Not fact, not evidence.
            Yes, you can just keep on thinking that, and saying it and using it.
            But don’t for a minute think that history or results are on your side.
            If they were, you wouldn’t have to engage in the hard sell. Nor insult people for no good reason when another frame of truth confronts you.

          • george

            Yes.often it is because of ex gays words toward lgbt people, that bigoted politicians and religious leaders use to kill beat or make this lifelife hell for. lgbt people. Especially when ex gays say that orientation is a choice and they chose it.
            It is a persons choice to be celibate, never have sex…and it is a great decision..but
            Generalisation is a bad thing indeed.

        • Regan DuCasse
          • Evan

            Regan, may I ask why you are even commenting on this site? Is it simply to argue with Christians? What’s your goal? I’m asking this sincerely. You obviously do not subscribe to Matt’s beliefs or to the beliefs of the majority of commenters, so what are you aiming to do by arguing?

          • Regan DuCasse

            I had stopped for months.
            And BJM brought himself to my attention, and decided to go on the offensive. Usually personal attacks are difficult to ignore.
            I’m only human.
            And here YOU are, when I was content to leave this site alone, asking a question that answered itself nearly a month ago.
            To be honest with you, it’s a means by which to get educated and try to know the psychology behind this kind of thinking.
            I have gay youngsters to mentor and answer to, who are confused by the mixed, and often negative messaging that’s typical of this kind of beliefs.
            And it is very negative, and contradictory messaging. I didn’t owe you an explanation, but as a courtesy, I gave you one.
            It’s that simple, this messaging does damage, not only to a vulnerable youngster, but also to their straight peers.
            And does damage to credibility and reveals the ulterior motives by who advances these beliefs.
            It’s only fair to question and challenge this behavior, when that happens.
            You asked.
            The Christian side has had thousands of years to express themselves, and their motives and ideals.
            But continue to behave as if they haven’t, or are saying something new and unexpressed before.
            It’s a matter of being an outside observer, interpreting THAT kind of behavior too.
            Why that is.
            And especially why the subject of homosexuality is the touchiest of all, and shouldn’t be.
            I’m ever curious about people’s psychology.
            Especially after so many years of observing and knowing some of the most depraved of all human behaviors, and why the preoccupation with one so obviously morally neutral and the least controversial, prompted by religious belief that it’s not.
            I cross reference that, with others who have had the same experience, but with a different result.
            I’m being honest with you, and sometimes I’m brutally frank with folks here.
            Which makes me wonder at just how fragile some people will be, even as adults. Which motivates me to be just that much more protective of the youngsters I’m charged with helping.
            As we speak, the socio/political backlash is real.
            And in no way, can the sorts of thought processes involved here, support the progress that’s been gained so incrementally and painfully.
            In none of these conversations, or MM’s commentary is there anything that can or would move the legal and civil aspects towards greater understanding or freedom.

  • george

    According romanss 1 little boys and girls who were born in churches, who know from very early age that they are gays, are those who rejected God, who did nor try to know more about God and who worshipped idols. And it is wrong!
    There are many atheists and idolworshippers who rejected God but are heterosexuals.
    According to romans most of the world population would have been lgbt.

    • Andrew Marsh

      Hi George. I’m struggling to see where what you’re saying ties in with Romans 1. Please would you enlarge on what you’ve written? Thank you. Andrew

      • george

        Hi Andrew

        For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth . . . although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened . . .

        Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves . . .

        For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions . . .
        And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” – Romans 1: 18, 21, 24, 26, 28

        1. My friends and I grew up ( and many other christians) in church since our childhood. Praying and fasting ministrying the lord. We knew we were same sex attracted from very childhood.we honored him, loved him and worshiped him, but he never heard our prayer to take our attractions away.

        2. We never worshipped a creatures instead of the creator, but we are SSA since our childhood.

        There are ex Christians who abandoned god but are still heterosexuals.
        There are many people who worship creatures instead of the creator, but are not given to same sex attractions..they are still heterosexuals.

        Do you see my point?

    • Kathy Verbiest Baldock

      This is a WHOLE bunch of assumption! Consider this: http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/romans-126-27-say-sex-behavior/

      • george

        What is Whole bunch of assumptions? The article you have linked?

        • Kathy Verbiest Baldock

          If if was not clear, I was responding to your assessment of Romans 1. I do not know how you came up with your assumptions, but they are doozies.

          • george

            How I came up? I am SSA men, growing up in church as a christian since I was 12. I am SSA as I remembered , since 3 or 4. I have never rejected God, never worshiped idols…I am speaking from my own experiences. And may be you are the one who’s ideas are assumptions.
            Do you see now where my assumptions come from?

  • glynnis bugati

    This may be the stupidest thing you have ever written. That’s quite an achievement!

    You mostly just recycle the same drivel over and over again, so congratulations,

    There is no God, there is no “plan”. Enjoy yourself. This is all there is.

    • Andrew Marsh

      Hi Glynis. We’re you replying to anyone in particular please?

    • Helen Crews

      If that is the case, then life is a cruel joke played on the those trapped in chronic, painful disease,mental distress or hellish circumstances. If this were your fate, to what could you look forward? I see only disrepair, depression and hopelessness. For the Believer there is hope; hope that the painful realities of this life will one day give way to unimaginable and eternal joy.