PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Andy Hollifield 6-23-17
Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the almighty.
Psalms 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:
Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
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. These were the opening words from the first paragraph (after the introduction) of the Declaration Of Independence. Rights we believe to be given to every man by God himself. The liberty to pursue happiness. Pursue means to chase or strive to attain. It was never intended to be a guarantee of happiness, but only the liberty to pursue it.
A lot of times, we bring discouragement on ourselves because we somehow feel that we have a right to happiness. That sounds good but the cold, hard fact is that life happens. There are things that come along in our lives that we would not choose for ourselves, but God in his infinite wisdom has deemed them to be necessary in our lives to accomplish his purpose. Romans 8:28 is probably the most well-known verse in scripture talking about the “purpose” of God in our lives. It reads,”And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. The purpose of God is different for each of our lives but always results in him getting glory and honor out of our lives. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul said, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Every thing, both good and bad. Job asked his wife in Job chapter 2, “What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not recieve evil?” God has a purpose that he is working out individually in each of our lives. Bad things are not always a punishment just as good things are not always a reward. Sometimes, it is just what is necessary to accomplish God’s will and purpose in our lives. In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus said, That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.” In 1 Peter 5:9 Peter, speaking of the devil said, “Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” In Isaiah 64:8 he prayed “But now, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Simply put; God is molding each of us into the vessel of honor he wants us to be for his glory. The things that occur in our lives are just part of that process.
Where we often make a mistake as I mentioned earlier, is thinking we have a guarantee of happiness. As the first scripture above mentions, God sometimes does have to correct us and sometimes chastens us to help us learn. The next scripture in Psalms says that in so many words; if we have God for our help and hope, we should be happy. Paul said in Philippians 4:13 “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Hebrews 13:5 says this, “be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Now that is a guarantee! Not that you will always be happy but that he will always be with you and therefore you should be content. I am not saying not to strive to provide better for your family, but sometimes the pursuit of things we think will make us happy just leads to taking us away from the things that actually do. Things will never bring happiness but only temporarily. Our relationships with people; our family and friends, and most of all with God are the things that will bring lasting happiness. If we get to the place where we are satisfied with him, we will be satisfied with his provision and care.
A lot of people spend their entire lives pursuing things, only to find out in the end of their lives that it was the people in their lives and their relationship with God that brought true happiness. I have mentioned this before but it is worth repeating; when it comes time for you to die, there are going to be only 2 things you will be concerned with. They will be, where you stand with your family and where you stand with God. When it comes down to your last breath there will be only one thing that will be of any importance; that is , where you stand with God. At that point in your life, things won’t matter, jobs won’t matter, money won’t matter, only your family and God.
If you learn to be content, as Paul said, happiness will no longer be a pursuit but it will become a place. A place where you live regardless of what comes your way. As the scripture in Romans 8 says, God is working everything in our lives for our good. It may not look like it at times, but when he is done accomplishing his purpose, all the things in our life will work together for our benefit. I have not really arrived at the place in my spiritual life that Paul was. I have not learned to be content, I am still learning to be content. Sometimes I get frustrated and discontent but when I get things back in proper order in my life, with God first, and everything else afterwards, then I am content. As the bible says in 1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. Notice that godliness is mentioned first. There is a reason for that. That is the place that God is supposed to occupy in our lives. If we have him on the throne of our heart and life, we will have contentment and therefore, will have true happiness. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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