Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dedication = Happiness?

Subject:
Does personal dedication to God lead to happiness?
Question:
Please show me how? Examples from the bible. Examples in our life.
 Are we sure we are happy bearing the anxiety & pressure on our daily life that dedication to God brings upon us?
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REPLY:
First let me say that a personal dedication is just that. It is personal. So only you can determine if such a dedication is worthwhile to you.
I will do my best to answer your questions, in the hope that this will help you to make your determination.
I would like to start with an illustration. It is one the Bible itself uses when examining this subject.

Imagine that you hear, or read on the news,
that a race is approaching which guarantees the winner a prize of unlimited wealth, health, a removal of all life's problems, and happiness. (2Cor.1:22; 5:5; Eph.1:14; Heb.6:10; John3:33; 10:10 B; 1Cor.2:9; Rev.21:4,5).
You also learn that your father greatly desires for you to have this prize, due to his love for you (John3:16; Luke11:13; John16:27; 1John4:8; Isa.49:15). He promises to contribute his own resources to support you, guaranteeing success (should you accept the challenge) (Phil.4:6,13; 1Cor.1:8,9; 10:13; 2Pet.2:9; 2Chron.16:9 A; Rom.8:37; Heb.4:16).

But then the race is described to you. It is grueling, long, and perilous (Acts14:22; Luke13:24; 2Tim.3:12; 2Cor.4:9; 6:4; 1Thess.3:3; Heb.10:32,33; Rev.1:9).
It will demand tremendous dedication, self-control, endurance, and sacrifice (1Cor.9:25; 2Tim.2:5; 1Pet.1:13; 4:7; 1Thess.5:6,8; Titus2:12).

Does the race lead to short-term happiness? Certainly not!
But then what if you heard that winning is possible, and that everyone who crosses the finish line, wins? (2Tim.1:12; 4:7,8; James1:12; Matt.24:13)

For those chosen by God (Isa.66:21; 1Pet.2:9), this race also includes accepting an assignment of work (2Tim.4:5; James2:17,20; 1Cor.3:8,13,14; Acts.10:42; Matt.16:27; 9:37,38; 25:19; 1Pet.2:5; Mark9:35; Luke12:35,43; Rom.12:6,7,8). That work must be done during the race. In addition, all runners must deal with an opposer and his cohorts, who constantly do all they can to make the road to the finish, impossible (Rev.2:10; Eph.6:12; 1Pet.5:8,9; Luke18:26,27).

It is understandable that you would ask yourself, "How can enlisting into such a gamut be worthwhile?"

Even if the prize does not appeal to you,
you may think of your father, and how much it means to him that you succeed.
Out of love for him, you may choose to "compete" (Prov.27:11; 10:1; 23:15; Exo.33:13; Ec.5:4; Jonah2:9).
                      --------------------------

So for your first question:
Please show me how a personal dedication to God leads to happiness.

While this present life continues; our life of dedication does not bring happiness, but grief (John16:20,33). Our only happiness is our Hope for the future, which is guaranteed (2Cor.1:20,22; 5:5; Eph.1:14; Heb.7:22). This hope rests on an assured Faith, which is based upon evidence (Heb.11:1; Rom.8:24; 2Cor.4:18; Heb.3:6,14; 10:39).
But for those who seek that evidence and work to build that faith based upon reality (Matt.7:24,25,26,27); they find assurance that the future reward includes a joy that excels any happiness we can now imagine (Phil.4:7; 1Cor.2:9).
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For your second question:
Show me examples from the Bible that a life of dedication leads to happiness.

The race is over for many, but only One has received his reward (John16:33; Rev.3:21; Heb.4:14; 6:20; 10:12; 1Pet.3:22; Mark16:19; Matt.28:18). He endured the entire race, and suffered more than any runner to follow him (1Pet.2:21; Heb.2:9,10; Phil.2:8). When we hear the report of his reward, we receive assurance that our own reward is real (1Pet.1:3,21).
The best place to examine how dedication leads to happiness, is in the life of Jesus Christ (Heb.12:1,2,3)
Even though Jesus Christ is the only one to have received some of his reward thus far; we do have other examples of how dedication to God is rewarded...and our endurance and privations richly compensated for. I think of the example of Job. Although he suffered greatly while under Satanic test; we read of God's reward for Job's faith and righteousness, while under the most severe tests (Job1:8; 17:1; 23:2; 27:1,2,3,4,5,6; Job42:12,13,15,16,17; James5:11)
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For your third question:
Examples in our personal life where dedication leads to happiness.


This is a very subjective question. Happiness in one's personal life can only be attested to by the individual. I can only speak of my own personal life, and how my own dedication has lead to happiness thus far.

My first thought is to compare the happiness most folks already have in their lives, while not dedicated to God and the teachings of Christ. I don't know your life, nor can I estimate your present happiness. I only know that when I was previously without God...
this short temporary life was "glutted with agitation", pain, and futility (Job14:1,2; Eph.2:12; Rom.8:22,20). To me personally, this reality robbed me of any real sense of happiness. I personally regard all who are alienated from God, yet are happy in this life, as fools. How can a wise man enjoy his days, knowing that they are about to end, forever (Ec.1:18).

My dedication to God and the hope it provides me daily, gives me a measure of happiness. I have freedom from the fear of death (Heb.2:15; 1Cor.15:55; Hosea13:14). Who can put a price on that?

I can only tell you about my own "personal life" and experiences.
When I need divine support, reassurance, and affection;
God answers these prayers. I then naturally feel happiness, knowing that He is there for me, at times displayed by awesome, miraculous display. I know of nothing which can compare to this in an average mundane existence devoid of real purpose.

There is also the gifts which Holy Spirit gives to our hearts, such as divine acceptance and peace. Without these, my own heart would be in agony.

In truth, we all have a master we are dedicated to; even if we are unaware of this reality. We are either a slave to sin and death (and he who reigns over these...Satan) John12:35; 8:34; Rom.6:16,21,22,23; Heb.2:14.
Or, we choose to be a fully dedicated slave of God (1John5:19; Matt.22:36,37,38; Isa.42:8; Luke9:23), who longs to reward us at the end of this race.
Although we are only a "slave" when we give our life to God; He in time, adopts us as His son (Rom.9:4; 8:23; John8:35; Gal.4:7), and includes us as an heir of His boundless estate (Rom.8:17; Acts20:32; Gal.3:29). We can only choose one master (Matt.6:24). Most make their choice while still ignorant of all these facts.

What hope do men cherish while alienated from God and the life that belongs to Him?
What is the full scope and purpose of any such "hope" independent of God?

When you answer that question personally, perhaps you will find your answer, in how a dedication to God would lead you to happiness.

Because God first loved me,
I have come to know God and love Him in return. (1John4:10,19; 3:1; Rom.5:8)

My personal daily happiness, is my hope that I am pleasing Him, and bringing Him happiness. I find true Jesus' words, that there is "more happiness in giving than in receiving" (Acts20:35). This applies for me, even when giving to God in Heaven, who needs nothing from me (Rom.11:35,36; Psalm51:17; Hosea6:6; Matt.5:7); but who asks that I show mercy to others through my work (Eph.3:7,8,9,10,11,12,16; 1:7; 2Cor.4:1,6,13,15), according to the mercy I myself was shown (Matt.10:8; 2Cor.1:4). So, I know that I have the power within my free will, to please the Father I do love. My sacrifices for him bring me daily happiness.
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For your fourth question:
Are we sure that we are happy, while bearing the anxiety & pressure on our daily life?

How do each of us define "happy"?

If our personal definition of happiness is sensual enjoyment, freedom from care, indulgence without consequence, unfair personal advantage, material riches, etc.;
Then the Christian life is a pointless burden.

But if an eternity marked by inestimable quality (John10:10 B; 1Cor.2:9; Rev.21:4) is a hope we deem worth the present gamut; then yes, we are happy while bearing the price of it...
knowing that this test is fleeting and temporary, and works out for us a surpassing reward. (1Pet.5:10; 2Cor.4:17; Rom.8:18)


"But", you may say, "all these things are referring to the anointed chosen ones. What about me?".

You're right.

Let's go back to the illustration.

Imagine that you now find out, that you don't have to run the same race as those who are registered and chosen.

Imagine that you only have to provide an occasional cool drink of water to the runners; and occasionally face (with divine support) those opposers along the sidelines. Imagine that you only have to recognize the runners, and have faith that they will receive the reward...knowing that they and their father will fully share it with you freely (Rev.22:2,17; Matt.10:8).
Yes, you do have to follow the same course and the same rules (Matt.28:19,20). But if you sign up to participate in this event, you do not have to bear the same brunt as the official runners. As long as you support, and do not harass and assault them, you are guaranteed the very same reward of everlasting life (Mark9:41; Rom.12:13; Heb.6:10; Matt.25:40; Matt.10:40,41,42).

If you are not anointed, this is a promise being extended to you personally.
Will that hope and assurance bring you happiness? This is a question only you can answer.

Finally I must give you a warning.
If you are considering a formal dedication of your life to God through a baptism within the Organization of "Jehovah's Witnesses"; that dedication will not be valid to the God you intend to serve.
Why?
God does not share the worship/dedication/service of His slaves with others (Luke4:8; Isa.42:8; 43:11; Gal.1:10). Yet this devotion, service, and loyalty to men is what is expressly expected in their current Baptism vows, which officiate your inclusion into this Organization which has become a counterfeit Christianity which you will then be a slave of.
If this baptisimal action is the decision you are weighing, please consider this article:
pearl-baptismvows.blogspot.com  (The first link therein has been updated.)

NOTE:
The original person who sent me this question, sent follow-up questions.
See follow up, at http://4womaninthewilderness.blogspot.com/2013/03/wolves-in-sheeps-clothing.html

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2 comments:

  1. Good day Sister D

    Thank you for this lovely post.

    You said "Finally I must give you a warning.
    If you are considering a formal dedication of your life to God through a baptism within the Organization of "Jehovah's Witnesses"; that dedication will not be valid to the God you intend to serve.
    Why?
    God does not share the worship/dedication/service of His slaves with others (Luke4:8; Isa.42:8; 43:11; Gal.1:10). Yet this devotion, service, and loyalty to men is what is expressly expected in their current Baptism vows, which officiate your inclusion into this Organization which has become a counterfeit Christianity which you will then be a slave of.

    I would like to find out from you - what must the ones that got baptized after 1985 when the baptismal vows were changed by the organization do? Do they need to get baptized again as per the requirements in Matthew 28:18, 19 or must they pray to Jehovah to forgive for this sin?

    Thank you
    Modise

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Modise,
    I have left a response to you, at http://4womaninthewilderness.blogspot.com/2013/03/good-day-sister-d-thank-you-for-that.html
    Thank you for the good question.
    Love,
    Pearl

    ReplyDelete

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