Many people would say that the desire of every human being is to be happy. The problem is that no one knows how to be happy. People think that they know what will make them happy, but the things are generally scarce or hard to get.
Unfortunately, as any philosopher would agree, human beings have an infinite appetite for pleasure. When we enjoy things in scarcity, it brings a lot of joy, but when we start receiving something in abundance, we either get tired of it or get addicted to it. Let me describe it to you through a story:
There was a child who loved cookies and would do any chore to get one from his mother. Some days he would clean his room, other days he would take out the trash, but no matter what kind of a chore it was, he would only get one cookie a day. However, the child never minded doing the chores because the chocolate chip cookie gave him so much pleasure.
One fateful night, he decided he could not wait until the next day to eat another cookie. He lied down on his bed, pretending to be asleep until he heard the low rumbling of his father’s snore.
Kicking the sheets off himself, he tip-toed into the kitchen, pulled up a chair silently next to the cabinet, and opening it he revealed the treasure of his heart: a jar filled with crispy cookies checkered with chunky chocolatey chips.
Next morning, his mother stood agasp, finding the jar emptied of its treasure. However, knowing that her son is but a child, she decided to overlook this grand cookie heist. This would not be the end of the mother’s disappointment, for from that day, a single cookie could never satisfy the boy’s enlarged appetite.
Now, replace the cookies with money or anything else that is relevant to you. Did you ever notice that your appetite grows along with the growth of the things which give you pleasure? If left unchecked, these things also seem to enslave us rather than being a simple source of pleasure. If the boy is no longer willing to listen to his parents, or cannot be happy without more cookies, the cookies no longer bring joy but slavery. What does slavery to cookies bring? Diabetes. And what comes next? The boy will be dependent on cookies, but it will be lethal to him at the same time.
Has money been the same thing for you? Has it been the chocolate cookie to your soul? Has it already caused the diabetes of your spirit? Has it enslaved you so that you are unable to have joy apart from it? And while having it does it only enlarge your appetite for more, never being satisfied?
We must ask, is there anything that offers us joy without demanding our enslavement? The answer is a resounding… “Luke chapter 2”! Which is a “Yes”! The messengers of God (Angels) declared to the shepherds that he brings “Good news that will cause great joy for all the people,” and what is that news? A savior has been born, who is the Messiah.
The Jewish people have been waiting for the Messiah for a long time. They were bullied by every major power in the history of the region: Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Greece, and now the Roman Empire. The Bible had promised that there would be a savior (Messiah) who will come and free the Jews, bring light to the world, and reign as king over the world.
While the Jews believed that this Messiah was coming to free them from their current oppression from Rome, Jesus actually came to free the world from their number one oppressor: SIN. Sin is the desire in us that twists and perverts the good things that God has give us, it only seeks to consume for selfish gain, “Every good thing and pleasurable thing must be for ME!”
This is what rebellion to God looks like: instead of honoring God, we desire to be honored; instead of serving God, we desire to be served; instead of loving God, we desire others to love us. Yet, all of these things only satisfy us temporarily and are absorbed by our infinite appetite for self pleasure. We will never have joy and always be enslaved to it.
We were in a hopeless state of never being able to satiate our hunger for joy and pleasure. We were in the shameful state of rebelling against the one who formed us with his hands. Yet, while we were still sinners, Jesus came to earth to save us. This is the good news! This is the message that brings joy to ALL men! This is the gospel! That Jesus did not only come to save your from your addictions, your hopelessness, your depression, your dissatisfaction, but from the the root that causes all of these things! He did not come to stop the symptoms of your ailment, but to cure the root of the disease: sin!