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Why is that?
Zacharias told the story of a journalist asking Tiger Woods during the time of his great discretion, “How could you lie to so many people for so long?” Putting aside the obvious irony here, Woods’ answer was eye opening. He said, “Because I lied to myself first.”
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We often tell ourselves lies. It’s not always the enemy’s thoughts we’re listening to so much as it is our aligning our own thoughts with his.
Let’s look more closely at that idea.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve had perfect pleasure. They had perfect, immortal bodies, they had each other, they had a pristine universe, and they had God’s fellowship. But their pleasure had limits. They could enjoy the bounty of their perfect lives so long as they did not do one thing: eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So why weren’t they happy with what they had?
Enter the serpent.
Debate abounds on whether or not Adam knew better and chose the approval of Eve over the approval of God. I tend to think that is so. He stood by and did nothing when she listened to the serpent, yet the Bible tells us in unequivocal terms that he was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:13).
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Genesis 3:6 tells us the story: So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Eve, on the other hand, thought the snake was telling her the truth. It sounded like it could be true. It certainly looked like it could be true. And she was sure it would taste as wonderful as it looked. That’s what gets us, every time we align our thoughts with the devil’s suggestions. We look for the bits of truth in his lies and ignore the flaming red flags trying to get our attention.
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But the devil came in with a “mixed truth” statement. He told her that when she ate of the fruit, that “your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” That much is true. But he also said she would not die, and that was a blatant lie.
Satan always holds out on the entire truth. He didn’t tell her that the good and evil she would know would condemn her, just as God had said it would.
So she aligned her thoughts with the serpent’s, and then she acted upon them. And things went downhill from there.
Eve was under the impression that embracing the serpent’s “version of the truth” would make her happy. It would give her complete fulfillment and ultimate pleasure. In this case, aligning her thoughts with the enemy’s was devastating, not only to her and her husband, but because all of their future children would bow down to Satan’s hand.
So, as to the question “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?”
The answer is a resounding yes! He wants you to be ridiculously happy and filled to overflowing in joy. But true, everlasting happiness doesn’t come through getting our own way. We need God’s way.
First, Satan wants you to believe his lies so you will never be happy. He wants to destroy you body, soul, and mind.
Second, the Dictionary of Bible Themes defines happiness as “a state of pleasure or joy experienced both by people and by God.” He wants you to experience His happiness and joy and He has given you an eternity to enjoy it with Him.
Even if you have to drag them kicking and screaming into the light of God’s presence, submit your thoughts to the purifying Light and let it cleanse you, heal you, and make you happy. Only in His presence is there fulness of joy!
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)