The Pursuit of Happiness
The Second Continental Congress adopted The United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Part of it reads 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.” The writers of this Declaration believed that the three aspects were the sovereign rights of man. Certainly, Jesus came to give life and life abundantly (Jn. 10:10). He set at liberty them that are bruised and proclaimed liberty to the captives (Lk. 4:18; Is. 61:1). “…Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he” (Prov. 16:20). I don’t know a person who would say that they do not want life, liberty, and the opportunity to pursue happiness; but let’s notice again, these are endowed by our Creator – Creator God.
I have heard it said that our Lord is not really interested in whether we are happy or not. Psalms 40:4 says, “Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to liers.” The Amp. Bible reads, “Blessed (happy fortunate, and to be envied) is the man who makes the Lord his refuge and trust, and turns not to the proud or to followers of false gods.” “Blessed” means “how happy”. It comes from the word “ashar” which means “to be straight; esp. to be level, right, honest, proper, to advance, to make progress.” In other words, happiness is knowing that you are in the center of God’s will.
I am concerned that Americans have confused the real meaning of the “pursuit of happiness” for the pursuit of more power, greater position, more money, better houses, cars, and etc. God may grant any of these, but what about the man who lives in the mansion with plenty of money, but God says to him, “Sell, what you have and preach my Word in Russia.” Well, if this child of God refuses to obey the Lord, he may still have what looks like the American Dream, but he/she will not be happy. Happiness is found only in obedience to Jesus Christ. He must be Lord; Master.
I recall a time when I knew of a way to make some money to help us in our ministry. There was nothing wrong with the idea, except that the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “No!” All of this was over $70 which was like $700 to me at that time. I sat in my car on a parking lot; and I am ashamed to say, but I kept trying to convince God of how much that I needed that $70. I gripped the steering wheel and said, “Okay, God, You win.” …Just like He wasn’t a Winner before. I drove home with happiness in my heart, but my circumstances were not the happiest. Notice, I was on the “level, right, honest” with my Lord. I was right with God through my obedience. I later received a call from our church that someone had brought a check for my ministry. I had believed for a means to build a church in Cuba. I gave up my $70, but the check was written for a hundred times $70. I received $7,000; exactly what the cost is to build a church in Cuba (at that time). Now, you talk about happy. My heart was flooded with great happiness. Obey the Lord, dear brother and sister, and you, too, can know a happiness found no other way. This may not necessarily mean a $7,000 gift, but obedience to God’s will ministers His peace and favor, which is worth much more than any financial sum of money.