“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy” (Dalai Lama IV).
“The first priority of my life is to be holy” (John Wesley).
Who do you think is closest to the truth, Wesley or the Dalai Lama?
Let me have a go at a response:
- Holiness leads to happiness. Seeking after happiness leads to despair.
- Holiness leads to happiness because holiness means that we are separated to God. And it is in God that we come to find true happiness.
- Holiness is not about becoming religious; it is about being specially for God. As an illustration my Mum used to reserve certain crockery for use on special occasions. In a sense that crockery was holy because it was set aside for special use.
- Happiness sought for its own sake always leads to despair because happiness is only found in God through Christ by His Spirit.
- We come to God in Christ. It is in Christ that we are separated to God. We find holiness in Christ.
- Holiness is not boring because it is therein that we find true joy. It is in Christ that we find true contentment.
- God is not a kill-joy; He wants His creatures to be happy. When God created the world He created a place of delight, harmony, beauty and happiness. He created this for His special creation; human beings.
- Sin ruined this idyllic scene.
- Since the fall, men have been seeking to find happiness without God and relentlessly have failed that which they have sought.
- God, through His Son established the way back to Himself. In the Son we are set apart to God, we are holy. In the Son we are brought to God and in the Son we are happy.
- So praise God for the Son of His love, our Lord Jesus. It is through Him we are brought to God.
My conclusion then is that both statements when properly understood are true. But they can only be properly understood when viewed through the prism of God’s grace in Christ.