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Weekly Newsletter: Do What Makes You Happy is Horrible Advice

by | Mar 28, 2023 | Articles, Resources

If there is a mantra of the modern world, it’s “be true to yourself.” It’s the spoken and unspoken worldview that drives so much of our culture today. It can even infect how we follow Jesus, embracing faith as a self-help strategy to live our best lives now.

According to sociologist Christian Smith, the most popular answer to the question “what is the purpose of this life?” is “to be happy and to feel good about oneself.” We live with self as the central character of our life story.

So our internal voices are constantly screaming:

Discover yourself!

Create yourself!

Express yourself!

But here’s the problem I’ve discovered: “myself” is a broken ugly sinner.

When I’m true to that self, you don’t want me discovering, creating, and (most certainly) not expressing. My daughter has some videos from me at Colts games that will make that undeniably clear.

So while my internal voice says discover yourself, create yourself, express yourself, Jesus says:

Die to self.

Those words change the whole narrative, don’t they? They flip the script. They take me out of the center and put God back in His rightful place. How would I approach my everyday work if Jesus’ glory, not my self-actualization, was the central storyline?

“I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
John 12:24

If our primary pursuit is being happy and feeling good about ourselves, we probably won’t bear much fruit. But if we bear much fruit, I’m quite certain we will find more happiness than we ever imagined.

Accelerating the Great Commission through the Marketplace,

Erik Cooper | The Stone Table

Erik Cooper

After starting his career in the business world, Erik spent 12 years in full-time ministry, both on staff at a large suburban church and as a church planter in a downtown urban context. In addition to his role at The Stone Table, he also serves as the Vice President of Community Reinvestment Foundation, a nonprofit real estate company that provides high-quality affordable housing all over Indiana while investing its profits into missions through The Stone Table.

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