This is a popular concept that is often given to those who frequently find themselves in the midst of a marital conflict. This implies that one must often choose between the two, requiring that one must be willing to compromise the one in order to secure and/or maintain the other.
The underlying spiritual issue in many marriages where conflicts are frequent is the lack, an abuse of, or disrespect for, the marital and/or the parental authority that God has established for the home, here in the Church Age. Without a final source of authority, NO ONE is in charge, leaving virtually all issues a matter of negotiation and debate, leaving compliance as merely an option.
Marriages that do not honor marital authority set the stage for the dishonor of parental authority. If Mom is not obligated to respect authority, why should the kids?
Marriage is not the primary subject matter of this presentation, but it is a classic example of the type of environment that can be the result of one compromising the things of God in order to secure, retain, or restore the type of happiness that compromise brings. Taking into consideration the needs and the legitimate desires of all parties concerned is a part of exercising the delegated authority that God has established. But when such arrangements violate a principle that God has established, the home is on a collision course with disaster.
Granted, as long as everyone involved is getting what each one wanted or expected out of the arrangements, there is little conflict. But as soon as one or both become dissatisfied, or a "better" offer comes along, the trouble starts.
The first thing to go is what God has to say, that is providing that what God had to say was ever given serious consideration in the first place. If God and the things of God were not included in the first place, or are disregarded along the way, all the prosperity that the relationship accumulated will not bring the type of happiness into the home that God had in mind.
In fact, the divisions of the accumulated "prosperity" will be at the heart of the issues if the marriage is terminated. Children, including adult children, are often placed in situations where they must make decisions that will inevitably favor of one parent, at the expense of compromising their relationship or fellowship with the other parent or siblings.
Here in the United States, family, family roles, and the type of familial environment that God had in mind for those who call themselves Christians has been redefined. The morally-declining status of our present society is the end result. In this the devil is well pleased.
Environmental peace and experiential happiness seem to go hand in hand. When environmental peace is interrupted or disturbed, experiential happiness diminishes and/or disappears.
Scripture (Romans 12: 18) instructs Church Age believers to live at peace with another, to the extent that it is " possible" and that it depends on them.
"If possible , so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men (Romans 12: 17 NASB)."
If someone wants to go to war, or to remain at war, with you, the living in peace objective of Romans 12: 17 may not always be possible. How one handles him/herself in the midst of adversity speaks volumes about where he/she is in his/her personal walk with the Lord. The world says that all is fair in love and war, but the life of discipleship is a 24-7 lifestyle for which the born again believer is accountable to God.
Scripture (James 4: 4) teach that harmony with the world, that is with worldly-minded individuals, is to be at enmity with God. Allying oneself with God and/or the things of God, will place the advancing disciple on an inevitable collision course with the devil's world.
The spiritual issue then is to determine at what point is it that an advancing disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ must draw the line and take a stand for what he/she believes to be right. During the inevitable conflict that is going to ensue, the advancing disciple will NOT experience the peace and happiness that the world has to offer, but *can experience the peace and the accompanying happiness that surpasses all human understanding (Phil. 4: 7).
I say "*can" and not "will" because one should not expect to receive or to experience the Phil. 4: 7 blessings (peace/happiness) of God if/when he chooses to function in the ways of the "devil's Luke 4: 6) world.
The devil, to the extent that God allows, has and uses his ability to bless and to prosper those who do his will (Luke 4: 6), or that function in the ways of the world. The devil flaunts the prosperity of the wicked in the faces of those who are going to attain a lot less (according to human viewpoint) when they opt obey God. The prosperity of the wicked has been a thorn in the side of many who desire to glorify God. The Biblical answer to such "prosperity" is found in such passages as (Mark 8: 36/Psalms 37).
The type of happiness that is of God and the type of happiness that world has to offer are NOT the same (John 14: 27).
"Peace I leave with you; My (type of) peace I give to you; not as the world ( world's type of peace) do I give to you...(John 14: 27 NASB italics mine)."
While one will NOT experience the happiness that world has to offer by taking a stand for the right, one CAN take a stand for the right and still experience the type of exceeding happiness that God has to offer.
The type of happiness that the world offers is conditional, fragile, and easily disturbed. People can "love" you one moment, and "hate" you the next, as soon as you do something they do not like, or you fail to do something that they expected. The love of God is unconditional. His love for us does not change when we fail. The love of God is not fragile. The love of God is secure.
The type of exceeding happiness that God has in mind is NOT found in the absence of adversity, but in the midst of adversity. Anyone can be "happy" when things are going his/her way. It is the one who can be happy in the midst of adversity that has something going for him/herself. Humans can experience the type of peace and happiness that the world has to offer if they choose to follow the ways of the world, but an advancing disciple will not have peace or happiness of soul if he/she gains earthly prosperity via the ways of the devil's world. Advancing disciples can enjoy and experience legitimate earthly prosperity, but their happiness is not dependent on obtaining or retaining such things.
Both forms of happiness (worldly/divine) come with their own price tag. In both scenarios, there is much to be gained and much to be lost. People who choose to operate by the ways of the world will usually gain a lot more and a lot sooner that those who operate as God would desire. Born again believers who identify and execute the post salvation spiritual life will receive (1Cor. 3: 12-15) rewards and (Rev. 2/ Rev. 3) privileges in Heaven that others will forfeit.
The type of happiness that the world offers often requires allegiance with it. Friendship with the world calls for compromising with the things of God that produces an environment of enmity with God.
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate (love less) his own father and mother and wife (or husband) and children and brothers and sisters, and yes, even his own life (here on Earth), he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14: 26 NASB italics mine)."
The type of happiness that God has in mind requires obedience. Such obedience IS going to cost the obedient one the loss of much that the devil's world would have otherwise be glad to provide. There are godly blessings to be received here on Earth, and there are rewards and privileges to be received in Heaven. Many of the blessings that are received and experienced while here on Earth are left behind when we depart. For this reason, the wise will focus on the blessings that are to be received in Heaven, as these will be experienced for all of eternity.
If one perceives that it is his/he place and purpose here on Earth is to make the “best” of all that the devil’s (Luke 4: 6) has to offer, he/she us going to have one set of priorities. If one sees his/her place and purpose is to bring glory to God, he/she is going to have another set of priorities. One set will gain the earthly favor and the earthly blessings of Man and/or the devil. The other set will gain the favor of God.
Earthly prosperity WITH God is a blessing, but Earthly prosperity WITHOUT God is a curse. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are the most unhappy. The love of money will serve as a major distraction from the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship (Matt. 6: 24 ).
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and the love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth (Matt. 6: 24 NASB)."
There are many "Christians" out there who can tell you to the penny what their property, savings, and investments are worth, but have no clue as to what (if anything) is in their Matt. 6: 20 "account" in Heaven. Many do not even know what it takes to make a 1Cor. 3: 12-15 "deposit," but that's another study for another day.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth or rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6 : 19-21 NASB)."
Both unbelievers and believers alike can opt to pursue the type of seasonal (Heb. 11: 25) happiness that the world has to offer, providing one is willing to pay the price for it. These "seasons" can be short-lived, as in the case of the prodigal son (Luke 15), or can involve much of one’s life span here on Earth. In either case, they are both "short-lived" in comparison to the never-ending experience that one is going to encounter for all of eternity in one environment or the other.
Born again believers have the opportunity to identify and to advance in the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship and receive the heavenly blessings (1COr. 3: 12-15/Rev. 2/Rev. 3) for having done so.
Here on Earth, the individual plan that God has in mind for any one given disciple may include experiencing great blessings and earthly prosperity (2Chron. 1: 1, 11, 12).
Most of us will NOT be asked to give up all our earthly possessions (Matt. 19: 21), but we ALL are to have heart that would be willing to do so. God will test all of us from time to time for us (not Him) to see where such things are on our list of priorities.
The plan that God has in mind may call for great suffering (Phil. 1: 29/Heb. 11: 37) and/or the loss of much earthly prosperity (Job 1: 13-19). For some, it will cost them their very lives (Rev. 2: 10), and/or the lives of those around them (Job 13: 19). For most of us, our earthly experience will be a mixed bag of both blessings and adversity (Job 2: 10), as BOTH have a part to play in the plan that God has in mind.
Adversity does NOT make us happy, and easily takes away the type of peace that the world has to offer. We can, however, experience the peace that fellowship with God generates (and the happiness that such peace brings), in the midst of great adversity (Isa. 26: 3/Phil. 1: 29).
Taking a stand for what is right here in the devil's will cost us something, but will be rewarded in Heaven. We can choose to compromise the things of God and receive the blessings and the prosperity that doing things by the ways of the (devil's) world has to offer. Or, we can "take the hit " here in the devil's world in order to glorify God and be rewarded for it in Heaven.
In conclusion, YES there will be times when an advancing disciple will have to choose between (#1) experiencing and or maintaining the type of happiness that the world has to offer and (#2) glorifying God by doing what is right. As the old saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished! During such times, however, the advancing disciple can fall back on and experience the type of happiness that worldly-minded people know nothing about.