Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

It is said that as Benjamin Franklin concluded a stirring speech on the guarantees of the Constitution, a heckler shouted, "Aw, them words don’t mean nothing at all. Where’s all the happiness you say it guarantees us?" Franklin smiled and replied, "My friend, the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness; you have to catch it yourself."

For many people the next several weeks will be the saddest weeks of the year. For them the holiday season only reminds them of the loneliness and dissatisfaction in their lives. Each special activity simply exasperates the negative feelings hidden away in their hearts. Their attitudes prevent them from experiencing the joy and happiness that comes from giving thanks and rejoicing in God’s gift of His Son to mankind. A large part of their problems come from the fact that they have been pursuing happiness in all the wrong places.

Let’s face it, if most of us are left to our own devices, we will seek our happiness from people, possessions, power, and prestige. While each of these may bring a sense of fulfillment, none of them bring the deep heart felt contentment that our hearts cry for. This is not to say these things are unimportant but it is to say they are not all a person needs to find lasting contentment.

With this thought in mind, look at Proverbs 3:1-12. In these verses you will find six things that you can do that will assist you in pursuing happiness. You may want to go to the passage and read it for yourself. Until you do, here they are in outline form.

-1- Always remember God’s teachings. (3:1, 2)
-2- Practice kindness and truth. (3:4)
-3- Trust God in all things. (3:5, 6)
-4- Fear God and turn from evil. (3:7, 8)
-5- Honor God with your wealth. (3:9, 10)
-6- Receive God’s discipline willingly. (3:11, 12)

Ben Franklin was right. The government can not guarantee anyone happiness. It can create an environment in which we are free to pursue it for ourselves. As you pursue happiness throughout the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, make sure that you chase after it in the right places and ways. Follow the advice of Solomon and look for it in the things listed above. If you do, this may well be the best holiday season that you have ever had.

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