The Prime Directive guides the Star Trek Universe. As they seek to explore new worlds, one of the life or death rules is that they will not interfere with the development of alien civilizations. This directive is so important that members of the Star Trek Universe are called upon to follow it even if it means their own death or the death of the crew. While our society doesn’t make it a life or death matter, we have a “prime directive” that guides us as well. The prime directive of our society is that we are to do whatever makes us happy. We are in it for our own pleasure. The Bible describes this situation very well in James.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3)
Pleasure, or happiness is the guiding principle of the majority of society now. We used to use the phrase, “If it feels good, do it.” Values such as hard work, morality, self-sacrifice, fidelity, and many others of the values that built our country take second place behind pleasure or happiness. Oh, if it makes you happy to engage in self-sacrifice go ahead, but don’t expect me to engage in that. We live for momentary pleasure, expecting someone else to take care of us if things go wrong. We take the words of James to heart when we call out to God to bless our pleasures and our happy lifestyles – we have not because we ask not; but we forget the second part where when we ask, we ask with wrong motives such as increasing our pleasure or happiness quotient.
As followers of Christ, we have befriended the world (see verse 4) and adopted these same values. We disguise it with Christian thought by noting that God, of course, wants us to be healthy and wealthy. We follow those preachers who call on us to have full Christian happiness and pleasure. Yet God the Father, who sent His Son to sacrifice Himself on the cross never promised us a life filled with pleasure and happiness. Jesus warned us that in this world, we will have trouble and He promised us that He would be with us always. As followers of Christ we don’t talk about a prime directive, but if we did I think it should be “Love God…and love your neighbor.” Obedience to God doesn’t always bring happiness and pleasure. Obedience leads to sacrifice, morality, fidelity, and love for God and others. In short, it leads to tremendous blessings from God.
God, today let me seek You. Let me be obedient to You no matter what inconveniences or sacrifices that may call for. The greatest joy in life is following You no matter what. Help me not to substitute pleasure or happiness for true joy.