"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." Psalm 1:1
In case you haven’t noticed, we live in a no-holds-barred, do-your-own-thing world. We have been force-fed on the thought that we exist to experience pleasure, that the pursuit of happiness and personal fulfillment should not be restrained. Especially by Bible-thumping religious folk who want to control and oppress the world by calling people sinful every time they try to have fun.
But I keep asking myself: If life in the unrestrained pleasure-lane is all it’s cracked up to be, why aren’t we happier? How distorted is it that we call binge-drinking pleasure and sex on demand fulfilling? What are we saying about ourselves when life as we want it to be is so empty that we have to escape reality by drugging ourselves? Peter Kreeft was on to something when he observed, “If we were not so bored and empty, we would not have to stimulate ourselves with increasing dosages of sex and violence—or just constant busyness. Here we are in the most fantastic fun and games factory ever invented—modern technological society—and we are bored, like a spoiled rich kid in a mansion surrounded by a thousand expensive toys.”
Could it be that we’ve missed something?
The psalmist wrote, “[Happy] is the man who . . . delight[s] in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3 NIV).
As strange as it may sound, true happiness is not rooted in life beyond the boundaries but rather in the sweet confines of God’s wisdom. Contrary to popular opinion, God’s ways are anything but oppressive edicts to make sure that we never enjoy life. The reality is that His laws are the key to deep and authentic happiness. Life is far more enjoyable when we don’t lie to each other; when we don’t sleep with each other’s spouses; when we don’t steal; when we don’t covet; when life is not always about us but about the needs and interests of others; when we give; and when we forgive!
We should have had a clue about this from the beginning. Satan used the notion that God was oppressive in his very first assault on our ancient ancestors, Adam and Eve. Though they were enjoying life at its best with God in Eden, Satan offered them a better plan—the good life on their own terms! They bought the lie, and he slithered away leaving them alone in their shame and regret.
Sign me up for the slow learner club!
Because God loves us and wants us to live a life that is blessed, He told us how we could get there. Bravo for His boundaries!
- Read Psalm 119:97-104. What are the personal benefits of following God’s “law”?
- What misconceptions do nonbelievers have regarding God’s law? Do you share some of these misconceptions?