Holiness Over Happiness


“And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” Zechariah 13:9 ESV


I was scrolling through Pinterest yesterday and came across picture after picture of quotes that talked about finding love, finding success, and finding yourself. The more I read through them the more I felt frustrated at how often inspirational quotes try to pacify and  empower the reader with advice like, “If you aren’t happy, change something,” or, “If you're surrounded by people who don’t make you happy, find new people.”

The problem with this advice is that we aren’t entitled to a life full of happiness, but should instead prioritize the holiness that comes from the more difficult times that we are promised (James 1:2-4). I can attest – and I’m sure you can, too – that life is filled with challenging seasons and situations. The Bible is full of these instances (have you read Job lately?).

Rather than casting a gloom over everything, prioritizing holiness over mere happiness gives us the strength and perspective to walk through each day of our life in praise of the God who sanctifies and blesses us even through the most unhappy circumstances. Unhappiness isn’t always a sign that something needs to be changed in order to make us more comfortable, but instead it is often a sign that we are being changed by God in order to make us more like himself. There is nothing more beautiful or inspirational than this.


Thank you, God, that you bring different victories and losses into my life that shape me into a better person – a person who is more like you. Give me the strength and perspective to get through those times, and help me to praise you even when I don’t yet see the results. I trust that you are working things out for the good of those who are called according to your purpose, as your Word says.

Your turn:

Can you think of some times in your life that were difficult and painful in the moment, but changed you and your life in a positive way in the end? Are you experiencing that kind of moment right now? Take a look at Romans 8:28.