Here is a question for you on this day after Independence Day. How do you define the “Pursuit of Happiness?” What is your definition of happiness? pursuit of happiness

“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.

It says it right there in black and white, God had given us certain rights that can’t be taken away from us, among these the pursuit of happiness. But what exactly does that mean?

I know what I used to think it meant. We all remember the final line of so many fairy tales, “Happily ever after.” I thought happily ever after was having a big house, a fancy car, a lot of “toys”. It wasn’t until I learned that this path wasn’t leading to happiness, but rather to unhappiness. The more I got the more I needed and I always wanted more, thinking this was the answer to “happily ever after” and the “pursuit of happiness.”

When I finally began to question this, asking myself if this was really all there is to life, wanting more and more, always reaching for the next level but never finding it, that I turned to Jesus and asked Him. Is this really the purpose of life, to keep chasing that never ending dream of riches and success. And even more importantly, neglecting the real measure of happiness and success, not to mention the “happiness ever after” part.

It took me a long time to realize that it isn’t this life where we find happiness. It isn’t this life where the “happily ever after’ comes in. Rather it is in the next.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3: 1 – 2

We should be looking at how we can get to Heaven, at how we can spend life in eternity with God. And the way to do that is to do the things He wants us to do. Be virtuous, kind, compassionate, generous, take care of each other, feed the hungry and this will lead us to Heaven. And when you really think about it, won’t doing all these things make us happier while we are here on earth as well?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Matthew 6: 19 – 21

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