We’ve been here before.
Actually, we’ve been through most of this before. Deuteronomy’s a bit like revision before the final exam. Go back, recap the important pieces of what has been learned so far, so that it’s fresh in the mind when you go into the most important part of the semester. The Israelites are just about ready to enter the promised land, so just before they do, here’s a last revision just to keep them fresh and revitalised before that.
The ten commandments.
It’s pretty straight forward, when you think about it. These commandments, above all the rules and regulations, are the primary things that God laid out for an ethical and moral life.
The sermon at church last weekend was about happiness, and reporting two main definitions of happiness.
These weren’t the verbatim examples used at church; but if I go to my old favourite of Merriam Webster, we find the following two definitions:
1. A state of well being or contentment
2. A pleasurable or satisfying experience
There was a little more detail on the weekend. We had the hormone and endorphin rush that comes with pleasure; and we had the philosophical definition of leading an ethical and moral life.
Certainly, I don’t necessarily think that the ten commandments are the be all and end all of a moral and ethical life. Actually; what I do think sums that up is the two greatest commandments that Jesus gave. Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbour as yourself. This, though, is a great place to start.
I personally believe that true happiness is that moral and ethical life. It’s the first definition that comes from the two options above: a state of well being or contentment.
See, in our society today, we’ve gotten caught up in too much science and physical. Even in the days when I refused to acknowledge God, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there was more out there. The trouble is, though, today so many people are caught up in the science of it. Happiness is just a chemical reaction in our brains that comes from a release of pleasure hormones; or of endorphins.
What a load of rubbish.
Anyone who has experienced the fullness of joy that comes from actually meeting the God of heaven can tell you that there’s such a difference between pleasure and happiness.
And therein lies the difference. Pleasure.
We’ve come to a point where the two are now synonymous. The chemical reaction that is pleasure is also what we equate to happiness. This isn’t the case. Pleasure is physical, but happiness is a state of mind; it’s spiritual and much deeper than just the physical sensation that comes about through hormones and endorphins.
Contentment and happiness are where we can relax. It’s a place of peace, of comfort, of satisfaction.
If more people could get hold of the fact that true happiness isn’t through the release of chemicals, endorphins and hormones; then our society would be a very different place.