Sleight of Hand Happiness – by Mark Vincent Vicari

June 8, 2015

Photo Copyright g_cowan, fate, luck or Sleight of hand Flickr Creative Commons,

1 John 2:16-17

Everything of the world,—the craving desire of all the wants our eyes can see, the pride of life —is not of the Father but is of the world. Now, the world is a passing thing along with the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Ecclesiastes 1:2

Everything of this world is meaningless.

Just because something is meaningless, does not mean that it cannot be enjoyed. A speck of dust flitting about through a sunbeam is, indeed, “meaningless.” However, I have no shame in the admission that I find enjoyment in the spectacle. I presume I am not the only one, and I also believe that it pleases God that we do. Or, would we instead imagine that God scowls down upon us in displeasure, when we look up and smile at the meaningless twinkling of the stars?

We are supposed to be happy.

That is the reason why happiness as a goal is such an effective bait, is because it’s true.

Ultimate joy, perfect peace, and total fulfillment – that is the end. Happiness is the goal, but goals come at the finish, not the start, nor in the middle. Happiness is the End, and an end that lasts forever at that, but… it is not the now.

That is the subtle deception.

The fallen light bearer is a master at telling the truth in order to lie. “You should be happy,” is true. By telling us that truth so plainly, we are easily diverted from asking such questions as, “How should I be happy?”, “When should I be happy?”, “What should make me happy?” and “Why should I be happy?”

So, without asking those questions, we seek, absorb, and cling to all the stuff and things this world has to offer right here, and right now. Still, understand me, still, the deception continues…because we are supposed to seek joy and happiness. God did not create us for the purpose of deliberately rejecting joy, peace, and happiness. Just because happiness is not the goal of now, does not mean it cannot, or should not be appreciated now. Think of it: the absurdity of the idea that it is wrong to enjoy, and then praise and thank God for, the wonderful things He has given us here now in this life.

No. Being happy in the now is not the problem. Believing that being happy now is the finish line… that is the lie. A lie so sweet and pleasant, so present and abundant, drinking it down in great gulps is of no great difficulty at all. Even when putting effort into consciously keeping the truth in mind, it is all too easy to get lulled into a complacent comfort, a false feeling of contentment within that shallow security.

It is very difficult enjoy happiness without it becoming a growth inhibitor and spiritual opiate.

Mark 8:36-37

What would you profit if you were to add the worth of the whole world, but then subtract the value of our soul? Or, consider it this way, if another possessed your soul, what would you give in exchange to have it?

What the world encourages us to believe is that all the things, and all the stuff we can manage to get our hands on now, is of more importance, and of more value, and ultimately of more significance than what Christ has said we are to receive with Him at the end. That false belief is why we stop after we get what we tell ourselves is “enough”. Then so long as we feel we have our “enough”… we stay stopped. We stop at the starting line. We accept our spouse, children, home, money and all our possessions, we take all the melodic, aromatic, bright, soft and sweet things we can sense, and we are contented enough with just that.

Being content is incompatible with feeling the need to strive. In our comfort we put no effort into wanting to go farther on down the road. We get fooled into embracing the false shortcut of the “wide and broad road” (Matthew 7:13), and we stray far off of the straight and narrow. We go at things backwards, and try to start with the end. Do you see the two sides? On one end we stop at the start. We stop at having all our things now. On the other end, we try to start with the end (happiness). So one way or the other, if we make the starting line to be our finish line, we never move from that spot. All because the focus becomes having our joy, right now. Instead of giving everything to gain Christ, we play a gambling game with our souls to have everything we can now.

Philippians 3:8

I consider all things sacrificed for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. I have suffered the loss of all things for Him, and consider all those things only trash, compared to my gain of Christ.

What would you give in exchange for your soul? Everything I presume. Nothing is more important to you than your own soul, right? What if there was?… Because, there is.

Jesus, The Christ.

Our souls aren’t of much value or use to us by ourselves. All alone, all we have then is a thing that is a lost thing, doomed to be damned forever. Jesus takes that damned thing, and makes it a redeemed treasure. A treasure He just so happens to intend to put on display in heaven for eternity.  Even in their fallen state, our souls are of infinite importance, and then Jesus— who has promised to raise our souls up along with Him in His glory— it is Jesus who is of more importance than the infinite value of our souls… do you see? This is why I have told you this. If you can be happy, be so! Cherish it! Enjoy it! Spread it! Share it! Show others how to do the same! However, always cling most tightly to the ultimate truth that your ultimate joy, the zenith to your happiness, is Christ!

Know that even if all the world crumbled beneath your feet and left you floating on a rock through space, and yet you still had Jesus…you have lost nothing. When you know how to enjoy all happiness here as a thing that if lost, is of no loss at all, and it would be of no loss at all because your core happiness is in the truth that you are loved by Jesus…then your joy will be full.

Ephesians 3:17-19

May that Christ dwell in your hearts through faith; so that you, being planted and deeply grounded in love, will comprehend along with all the saints, the width, the length, the height, and depth – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; so you will be filled with all the fullness of God.

1 John 1:3-4

We tell you what we ourselves have seen and heard. We tell you so you may be with us in our fellowship:  in all truth our fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus the Christ. You see, these things we write to you so that your joy may be full.

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2) Do not be fooled by any sleight of hand happiness.

Mark Vincent Vicari †


I have recorded audio versions of this, and my other devotionals, in formats that both do, and do not have background music. They can be listened to at…

I am an author, theologian and philosopher
I hope to be a teacher and a public speaker.
You can find information about me, my 1st book,
and much more that I’ve written at my website…

Please note – If Bible verses are not specifically noted as being taken directly from the King James Version, I paraphrase all Bible verses that I use. The primary reason for this is in putting a verse into my own words I clearly expose how I read and understood the verse myself. Please always take the time to compare my understanding of a verse with the verse itself from your preferred translation of the Bible.


© 2015 Mark Vicari – All Rights Reserved

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