Friday. Five o'clock.
I don't need to elaborate much on that feeling. It's freedom, excitement, expectation, the fulfillment of what you've been waiting for. When you leave work on Monday through Thursday, it's just not the same awesome feeling as it is on Friday.
This feeling is pretty new to me. When I worked in a coffee shop, I often worked weekends, so leaving Friday nights was no relief. When I was a college student, I had so much free time that Friday night didn't matter. As a new (exhausted) teacher, I now know the depth of this Friday-happiness.
However, that feeling fades. Friday-happiness isn't the only happiness that fades quickly. Aside from Friday-happiness, I have had many happy events happen in the last few months: Graduating college, having a vow renewal, being with family members, new gifts, and the list goes on. Looking back, they bring a smile to my face still, but not enduring happiness.
As a culture, we have a fascination with this feeling. As even referenced by the title of this post, there is a whole book that is about replicating this Friday-happiness into everyday of your life.
The problem with this mentality is that it both asks for too much and seeks too little.
It asks for too much, because it assumes that a person has done something to deserve happiness; and not only once, but for every moment of the rest of their earthly existence. For the Christian, even our most righteous acts are nothing more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Our good works most often come from a place of sinful deceit in our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). Even if we aren't "that bad," God is that much better. We all fall short of the perfect standards of God. We deserve wrath for our sin.
However, this mentality seeks too little because if we are only interested in feeling comfortable on this Earth, we are missing much of Jesus' teachings. Jesus told his disciples to expect to be hated by the world, because He was hated first by the world. (John 15:18) This world is not our refuge.
Instead, our refuge is found in the one true Savior. God sent his Son to become perfect man, die in our place on the cross, and He now reigns in heaven. One day, we will behold Him in Heaven. It will not only bring happiness now, but joy.
Joy is a deeper and longer-lasting experience than happiness. Specially, our joy comes from our Savior who, instead of sending us rightly to hell, saves us by His grace. Even if our cup is empty, it overflows. Furthermore, He puts our penalty on the One who was without sin.
Even more incredibly, God invites us into his family to be adopted as heirs, as sons and daughters. God sees us as if we have never sinned and as if we have always obeyed. The right response to this is repentance for sin, belief in Him, and joy in who He is.
To God, we aren't just acquaintances, considerate neighbors, friends, or even best friends: we are co-heirs with his beloved son, Jesus. As our pastor would say, "How stinkin' amazing is that?!"
If and when we can wrap our heads around that concept alone, we will no longer be seeking out just Friday-happiness, but we will learn to enjoy the lavish joy that we are given every moment of our lives which God graciously provides.
by Jessie Bollinger