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. – Declaration of Independence
As an American, I’m told that happiness is my right.
For the Declaration of Independence tells me so.
The Founding Fathers believed it to be self-evident that God gave us this right; but I can’t find it in the Bible. I searched for what the Bible tells us to pursue and I came up with enemies, peace, and the character traits of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Never once did I see happiness.
I think we Americans have taken this idea and run with it, much further than the writers of the Declaration of Independence ever intended. I agree with them that all men are created equal, and as such should be allowed to pursue life, liberty and happiness. However, the ultimate goal, the American dream, seems to have become to attain a lifestyle where we are happy. The prevalent path is through money, fame, and power. I’ve watched the Real Housewives, they’re not happy.
I’ve grown up with these words, this mantra ringing in my ears. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness — what I’m entitled to as an American citizen.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ – Philippians 3:20
As a Christian, I’m more than an American, I’m a citizen of heaven. As such, the Bible declares a different set of rights for me:
Rather than Liberty, I find that I am born a slave to sin, and have the ability to escape that in becoming a bond-servant to Jesus. This is akin to Liberty because His yoke is easy and His burden is light, He will never give me more than I can handle.
As for happiness? Jesus tells me to seek first the kingdom of heaven. I am to be on guard that the worries of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for things don’t choke the word and make it unfruitful. The needs of others should be of equal importance to me as my own.
I’m not saying that God does not want us to be happy, that as Christians we should walk around like martyrs with downcast faces. Instead I’m saying that our happiness should not come from selfish gain or worldly pursuits. The longer I walk steadfastly with God, the more He changes my heart in this direction.
The self-evident truth to me is that our Savior is the only true source for Life, Liberty and Happiness.
How have you found that your faith connects to your happiness?