The Pursuit of Happiness Devotional Reading
When I greeted the cashier, we immediately started chatting about the joy of retirement which led me to believe that she was only working part-time and happily enjoying a life of bliss. But then she expressed the agony of working six more years to reach full retirement age. The atmosphere created by her words of hopelessness threatened to produce a doom-and-gloom conversation.
Looking at her prematurely aged face, I thought about having a job in mid-life that required eight hours of constant standing, never-ending customer interaction, and produced mental and physical exhaustion by the end of the day. I knew this would be my only opportunity to provide uplifting words of hope to combat her heavy burden of despair.
I eagerly expressed the benefits of taking early retirement at 62 with the ability to work if the monthly income did not exceed $1700. As we chatted, God’s divine intervention kept other customers from choosing her checkout line. As she placed my items in the bags, a bright smile and the words, Thank you, now, I have something to look forward to in life produced happiness in two women who would probably never see each other again. Leaving the store, I said a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the opportunity to alleviate her mental suffering. Yes, as I walked away, I felt happy.
Happiness is an emotional response to things going well. Yet, we have rapidly progressed to a time where most people are unhappy even though their lives are productive. “Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years, The poll finds, Just 14% of U.S. adults say they’re very happy.” https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/americans-are-unhappiest-they-ve-been-50-years-poll-finds-n1231153
Where do you stand? Are you included in the 14% of the population who is very happy? Sadly, many believers are very unhappy with their present circumstances. How did we progress from thanking God for His abundant blessings to an internal state of dissatisfaction? We have embraced the worldview that produces unhappiness–to always be discontent.
Many have offered little resistance to society’s prevailing drive for the pursuit of happiness. The competitive edge is to always strive for more–we agree that enough is never enough!
God’s Standard: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
For the faithful, God always gives us the necessary provisions to sustain our well-being. Despite the satanic warfare of natural disasters and humanity’s continuous destruction of the planet earth, God has allowed the abundant beauty in nature to remain steadfast. Truthfully, our Heavenly Father always provides for the righteous. Most believers are well-fed and have financial stability.
Why do we constantly desire more things for ourselves? Our discontent reveals our perception of God. Instead of focusing on the blessings received from the open windows of heaven, we begin to view God as a restrictive God who controls humanity. When will God give us a successful career, a new home, a luxury vehicle, or a husband or wife? With a driving passion, we take the necessary steps to satisfy our heart’s desires.
Our feelings place us in a heightened mental and emotional state of living for the pursuit of happiness. We become fixated and strategize to obtain our desires by any means necessary. There are repercussions, the loss of peace, joy, and contentment. Even more devastating, our disobedience completely severs our relationship with God. Eventually, we obtain our desires, but the giver is not God.
Why would God withhold from us what others so easily obtained? God’s thoughts will never be our thoughts. We were created to worship Him in our earthly lives and have immortality forever.
- “Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7). God’s purpose for humanity is to worship Him.
- “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12). The New Heaven and New Earth will be the forever home of faithful, righteous, and obedient believers.
Still, does God select only certain people whom He blesses with the things that produce happiness? “…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
In studying The Creation, it is evident that God withheld no good thing from Adam and Eve. The problem is that we cannot think beyond our present state of existence. The home or vehicle that we desire requires long-term financial stability, and the prospective husband or wife with whom we desire to make a lifelong covenant does not love God first and foremost nor do they desire to live eternally.
Would God bless us with tangible items or a marriage partner just to make us happy? In His Omnipotence–knowing the beginning to the end, place all of your faith and trust in God’s answer of no. If we do not receive the things that we think will make us happy then be confident that God’s objective is to save our souls.
Our pursuit of happiness will always overshadow the reason that we made a covenant vow with Jesus, to do the Father’s will. Never forget that we are servants of the Most-High God who are promised peace and joy in this life and the life to come. The fleeting happiness of this earthly life is on the verge of ending. Our King of Kings and Lord of Lords is coming to give us an eternal life of happiness.
Desire happiness? “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Prayer: God, we have lost our way. We need Your help to get us back on the Path of Righteousness. In Jesus’ Worthy name, we pray. Amen.