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〔本文撮錄自《與神連線》（Of God and Men），陶恕著，周健文譯；蒙宣道出版社允許轉載。〕
A. W. Tozer: Holiness before Happiness
A selfish desire for happiness is as sinful as any other selfish desire, said A. W. Tozer, who added that the root of such selfish desire is in the flesh and it can never have any standing before God. “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Romans 8:7).
The fact is that the pursuit of happiness is widely recognized as an unalienable right and the legitimate purpose of human life. Even the gospel can be presented as a means toward happiness, peace of mind and security. This is hedonism of the old Grecian days applied to modern daily living.
But all of this is wrong, wrote A. W. Tozer. Specifically, he said:
“How far wrong all this is will be discovered easily by the simple act of reading the New Testament through once with meditation. There the emphasis is not upon happiness. God is more concerned with the state of people’s hearts than with the state of their feelings. Undoubtedly the will of God brings final happiness to those who obey, but the most important matter is not how happy we are but how holy. The soldier does not seek to be happy in the field; he seeks rather to get the fighting over with, to win the war and get back home to his loved ones. There he may enjoy himself to the full; but while the war is on, his most pressing job is to be a good soldier, to acquit himself like a man, regardless of how he feels.
The childish clamor after happiness can become a real snare. One may easily deceive himself by cultivating a religious joy without a correspondingly righteous life. No man should desire to be happy who is not at the same time holy. He should spend his efforts in seeking to know and do the will of God, leaving to Christ the matter of how happy he shall be.
For those who take this whole thing seriously, I have a suggestion: Go to God and have an understanding. Tell him that it is your desire to be holy at any cost, and then ask Him never to give you more happiness than holiness. When your holiness becomes tarnished, let your joy become dim. And ask Him to make you holy whether you are happy or not. Be assured that in the end you will be as happy as you are holy; but for the time being let your whole ambition be to serve God and be Christlike.
If we dare to take a stand like that, we may expect to know a new degree of inward purification. And, God being who He is, we are more than likely to know a new degree of happiness as well, but a happiness that springs out of a more intimate fellowship with God, a happiness that is elevated and unselfish and free from the pollutions of the flesh.”
(A. W. Tozer: Of God and Men, Chapter 12)