“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..”
That’s from our Declaration of Independence, which we’re about to celebrate. Those three things – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – are rights that we have as Americans.
I am immensely grateful for those rights and for those who fought and died to win them and protect them.
But as the years go by, I see more and more that the “pursuit of happiness” part has become twisted into a huge lie that most Americans — and even much of the world — has bought into.
“I’ll be happy if I can achieve _______.”
“I’ll be happy if I can have _______.”
Thus we have a materialistic society that is engaged non-stop in the pursuit of happiness… and looking in all the wrong places for all the wrong things.
We look to the government to solve or do this or that (“this” or “that” varying according to your politics)… yet Jesus said, “I am the way.”
Teenagers and twenty-somethings praise anyone who is “the life of the party,” but Jesus said, “I am the life!”
We have a list of things in our life that we think are keeping us from being happy. And yes, if all those things were fixed, perhaps we’d find some measure of happiness.
Yet happiness is only surface deep. There is something greater and deeper and stronger and more lasting than mere happiness.
Joy is the strength and the depths of ocean currents while happiness is only the waves on top.
Do you want to continue your pursuit of happiness? Or do you want depths of joy?
Did the Declaration of Independence grant us joy? Is there even such a thing of “the pursuit of joy”?
Consider another declaration:
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand there are pleasures forever. – Ps. 16:11
Do you get that?
We can spend our entire lives pursuing happiness and never find what is even greater… because we’re pursuing the American Dream instead of pursuing Him.
But if we pursue Him until we are in His presence, what is there?
Happiness? Nope, not just that, for it doesn’t say that there is happiness in His presence.
It doesn’t even say that you can find joy in His presence.
It says that there is fullness of joy in His presence! The complete, total, life-filling kind of joy. Take a look and see everything the Bible has to say about where joy comes from. I promise you… there’s nothing about pursuing the American Dream.
What are you spending your life pursuing? Happiness? Or are you spending your life pursuing the One who is so amazing that simply being near Him immerses you in Joy until you sing because the joy is so great?
But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
Let them ever sing for joy; -Ps. 5:11