In preparing for a sermon I read “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. It was written in 1931 and published in 1932. He attempted to capture a potential future if our primary focus was happiness. He got a lot right.
Happiness is a tyrant that is never satisfied. It tricks us into believing it is just around the corner. If we can just make a little more money. get one more item. have a “new” experience. Sure enough it visits us as we get a raise, open the box or play the latest “cool” game on our phone. Then, it evaporates leaving a hunger so intense we blindly chase after it. When it becomes our primary focus, we become addicted.
We know this. So the only proper response to happiness is.suppress it. We use rules or good old fashion guilt to conform ourselves into proper citizens. Meanwhile, happiness whispers in our ear until we throw off the rules, justify our actions and the addiction is satisfied.but it never is.
What does it cost us? A life of meaning and purpose. Time marches on. Relationships grow cold or even worse become something we use for our own satisfaction. Our focus is divided. It becomes harder to speak out against injustice because we waste our time being entertained.
If something is important, someone will tell us what to believe. We will even support them as long as all we need to do is click a link or “share.”
We do an excellent job of complaining about it. Scroll down any social media site and you will see a post or a re-post of dire warnings. We “like” it then notice a fun distraction and get lost again in our own world of personal happiness.
Aldous Huxley warned us of just how easily we can fall into a trap that tells us, “just be happy.”
I have some great news. All you have to do is clink on this link. not really. The great news is the trap can be avoided with a simply shift in perspective.
Happiness is not bad. It just has to be put in its proper place. Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
What are you seeking first? It is a simple question with huge ripple effects.
There is profound depth in what Jesus said. I could tell you what it means. You might “like” it or even “share” it. I have too much faith in you and God created you with the capacity to grasp the depth.
So dive in and wrestle with Jesus’ statement. Let it ripple through your life. Hopefully I will see you on the other side and we will have shaken off the tyrant of happiness and be living a life of significance.