The Pursuit of Happiness
By Logan Moorer
In the Declaration of Independence, our founders wrote that God had given mankind unalienable rights, including “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. One must keep in mind that any one of these three items are not exclusive from each other. Said another way, one’s pursuit of happiness should not hinder the liberty or life of another.
Unfortunately, the direction of the nation has taken a drastic turn for the worst. Some seem to think that their ‘pursuit of happiness’ means the liberty to take the life of another. Recently, the state of New York has just passed a that will allow for the termination of any fetus, even up to the point of birth.
I watched an entire room of people not just vote to pass this bill, but applaud their self-proclaimed “progressive” agenda. Our country is at the point, and has been for quite some time, where we have the audacity to praise immortality and savagery. These types of behaviors remind us of Jesus words “Because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). This perversion of the phrase ‘pursuit of happiness’ has brought us to this place. The phrase is pleasant but taken out of context has led to terrible behavior.
Human happiness is a conditional emotion determined by our circumstance. While it is not evil in and of itself, it does have the potential to lead us straight to death. Therefore the other two inalienable rights, “Life and Liberty” are necessary. Now that those are being jettisoned for the illusion of human happiness, evil is being revealed.
The Apostle John worded it this way: “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:16-17). When we choose to chase after something that’s fleeting, like the sinful desires of our flesh, to attain happiness, we fail to realize that such feelings are temporary. What then are we to pursue if not human happiness?
Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble’” (Matthew 6:33-34). The pursuit of human happiness in and of itself without restraint leads to a path of ease.
If you choose the path of least resistance then you are sure to face fewer trials, but fewer trials means less growth. Isn’t growth the point of life though? Especially for those of us who have committed our lives to the path of righteousness! “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). That joy James speaks of is an entirely different subject!
Joy is not conditional like happiness because joy is not an emotion. It is a mindset that is focused on not self, but something beyond ourselves – the will and plan of God and his purpose for our lives. While human happiness without restraint leads us away from the storms of life, the joy of the Lord leads us through them. The joy of the Lord has the power to lead us through the storm because it is the mindset of thankfulness. After all the verb form of the word joy is to rejoice!
Paul wrote, “For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.’ And again it is said, ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.’ And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.’ And again Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:8-13). That is the message of our faith!
The fleeting and fickle happiness of our flesh will never stand against the trials of this life, but the joy and hope given to us by the sacrifice and promise of our Lord Yeshua will last for the eternity that he promised. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49). As children of God and brethren to one another, let’s build the house of the Lord, not our own! Let us walk in Godly joy and not the unrestrained passions of the flesh. Let us strive for joy and not be content with human happiness.
Logan Moorer was born and raised in Montgomery Alabama. He attended Little Flock Ministries, a private Christian school, and graduated in June of 2014. He has been a member of Living God Ministries since 1999. https://thelivinggodministry.org/