Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…

[A guest post penned by my wife, Lauren]

I live in a culture that tells me that I am to pursue happiness with all that I am, this is my right as a human being and this is to be my most cherished goal. True living is happy living according to the gospel of the West. This brings me to the question- What does happiness look like? Is it riches? Is it family? Is it adventure? Is it prestige? Is it freedom? Is it friendship? Is it security? Is it intelligence? Is it beauty? or Is it simply chocolate cake?

I am not saying that happiness is evil, it is neither wrong, nor is it the enemy. However, I would contend that the journey towards happiness begins to corrode when it becomes our mission to obtain it no matter what the cost. The irony resides in the fact that as we hungrily seek happiness we may find ourselves at a loss; we may just find ourselves in the dismal realm of discontentment.

The truth is that living solely for selfish gain is not truly living. This posits another question: What does it mean to truly live? I will borrow the Psalmist’s words and say, “The nearness of God is my good” (Psalm 73:28).

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

I am humbly reminded of this truth today. I face the temptation to follow my selfish desires each and every day, of which I fail more often than not.

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”

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    • Sabrina
    • October 3rd, 2008

    Lauren, what lovely and eloquent thoughts. Thank you for those. I am challenged and excited at what you are learning, thank you for sharing.

    On a similar note, Kara and I just finished a conversation yesterday about joy and happiness (and how the two are not synonymous!). We as followers of Jesus are called to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit in our life…love, JOY, peace, patience etc. We are not called to pursue happiness. We talked of how being happy is so often dependent upon circumstance and situation. But being a person of joy is not contingent on external circumstances. As we choose to live joyfully in the midst of the ups and downs of life, it becomes part of who we are – so that whether or not we find ourselves with riches and abundance, or in a place of want we can still rejoice in the life we live with Christ.

    May your happiness today be linked with the life you live in Christ. Blessings, friend.

    S.

  1. Thanks Sabrina! It’s neat to hear similar themes come up among friends even though we are so far apart. Praise God for the gift of joy. You are a person that most certainly exudes this fruit.

    love, Lauren

    • Rick
    • October 8th, 2008

    “The irony resides in the fact that as we hungrily seek happiness we may find ourselves at a loss; we may just find ourselves in the dismal realm of discontentment.”

    Lauren, are you suggesting the seeking in a worldly secular manner, as in comforts or material gain, or God Himself? The focus on self will always lead to discontentment as we all know. That is not to then say discontentment will not present it’s negative self whilst one undergoes God’s surgery in life. So if happiness fails to reign during the journey, must I say “get over myself” and press on to the high calling? Of course, easier said than done.

    My you have come a long way from rainbows and glow in the dark lamps!

    Running the race with you…
    Rick XO

  2. Rick,

    My intention was not to take a secular vs sacred angle. Whether one seeks happiness from material gain or happiness from being a Christian – if this is our number one priority then I would contend that discontentment will be the result. Summarily put, to pursue happiness is to miss the point of what really matters in life.

    love, Lauren

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