“All men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” US Declaration of Independence
The founding fathers of the USA realized that happiness is hard work. Hence, they spoke of “the pursuit of happiness,” suggesting activity not passivity, something to be worked for rather than waited for.
The thesaurus entry for “pursuit” includes words such as “hunt, quest, seek, track, trail, and going all out.” Sounds like a lot of hard and difficult work, right? Happiness rarely finds us; we have to find it. It doesn’t pursue us; we have to pursue it.
Why is that? Why is happiness so elusive? Why do we have to work so hard to find it and keep it?
1. We have mistaken definitions of happiness. Today, there are thousands of definitions of happiness, maybe millions, and they can’t all be right. If we don’t know what true happiness is, we won’t know where or how to look. If we’re looking for something that doesn’t exist, we ain’t gonna find it!
2. We look for happiness in inadequate places. Many try to find happiness in someone or something – a friend, a wife, a husband, a job, a car, a vacation, etc. Some limited happiness can be found in these people, places, and things, but none of them is a sufficient source of deep and lasting happiness.
3. We look for happiness in sinful places. Sin promises huge happiness. But never delivers. How can it? How can we find happiness by offending and angering the Source of all authentic happiness? .
4. Other people’s pursuit of happiness crosses ours. There are lots of other happiness-hunters out there, each tracking their hoped-for prey with single-minded and blinkered determination and they don’t really care if they spoil your hunt.
Next we will identify four more obstacles to happiness in order to underline how much divine help we need successfully pursue happiness.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)