June 24, 2024

False Happiness

Ephesians 5:15-20

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. . . .

—  Ephesians 5:18

In Brazil there is a popular festival each year called Carnival. Sponsored with public funds and promoted by political authorities, Carnival attracts millions of tourists from around the world. Parading cars and floats with all kinds of decorations fill the main streets of large cities. Samba schools parade to the rhythm of the batucada before the euphoria of a crowd thirsty for pleasure. Carnival is the festival of masks. Sadly, it is a drunken party. Carnival is a vain effort to find joy where there are only ashes of frustration.

The false joy that Carnival promotes leaves a bitter taste. In the setting of this festival, decency is sacrificed, immorality is celebrated, and the wise values of dignified family life are tossed aside.

Lulled by amazing spectacles, the crowds jump and dance, animated by worldly ideas of joy. But people’s hearts at the end of this event are empty. Carnival, in fact, is a party where true joy does not find expression.

Instead, however, we can give thanks that God offers us true happiness. We are invited to be filled with the Holy Spirit, who makes our bodies a holy dwelling place for God (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Only in the Lord can we find the peace and tranquility that our souls long for.

Blessed God, transform our hearts. Free us from trying to solve our problems and to escape our struggles with the excesses of empty celebrations. Turn us to find true life in Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Hernandes Lopes

Hernandes became the Portuguese ministry leader for Today's sister Portuguese ministry in 2010. He also serves as the director of the organization Luz Para o Caminho (Light for the Way), an organization formed in partnership between ReFrame and the Presbyterian
Church of Brazil. Hernandes has authored more than 160 books and is a popular and respected conference speaker in Brazil. Hernandes graduated from Seminário Presbiteriano do Sul in Brazil and earned a Doctorate of Ministry from Reformed Theological Seminary in
Jackson, MS.

Hernandes and his wife, Tinha, have two adult children.

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