The Pursuit of Happiness

It’s 6 o’clock on Monday morning and many in the Western world are scrambling, getting ready to pursue yet another futile, never-ending, self-defeating weekly expedition better known as the ‘rat race.’

According to a February 2007 survey conducted by The U.S. Conference Board, less than 35% of American workers under the age of 25 are satisfied with their jobs, while less than 45% between the ages of 45-54 express satisfaction. We are living in the age where many of us are living to work as opposed to working to live. Most Westerners, who are trapped within this vicious cycle of detrimental living, are undoubtedly sick and tired of being sick and tired.
The Pursuit of Hapiness
That being said, we would all agree that it is the innate nature of mankind to be in constant pursuit of happiness and satisfaction. Since it is a fact that happiness can rarely be attained in the workplace where many spend well over 50% of their time, this is a major dilemma.

We search for happiness in the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the food we eat, the friends we socialize with-the list goes on and on. But what constitutes happiness? Who are the happy people? Does happiness favour those of a particular age, sex, or race? What is the correlation between happiness and wealth? Can one truly find happiness without having a concrete understanding of one’s purpose on Earth?

Well, let’s take a moment to identify a few forms of basic human behaviour and see if we can attempt to answer some of the aforementioned questions.

People smoke, drink excessively, curse, kill, steal, and commit fornication. Why? Because these activities create for them a sense of happiness. ‘If it feels good, it must be okay.’ Basic psychology and mere common sense dictate that people do what works. Where there is no benefit, consequently there is no action. The human demand for immediate gratification, as opposed to long term benefit, is prevailing more and more as the generations go forward.

We are living in a very rapid, high-speed era where everything is now-now-now! It’s all about fast cars, fast food, easy money etc…

It’s virtually every man for himself and most people, particularly in the Western world, are longing for satisfaction-the quest for personal happiness at any expense.

It is quite interesting to note that The United States of America is second among the world’s countries in GDP (Gross Domestic Product), yet the U.S. only ranked number fifteen in a “subjective well-being” test, analyzing the world’s happiest countries (UN Human Development Report, 2005). Is it possible that human beings were not created to be contented with the limitations of material possessions and other vanities of this world? Could there possibly be much more to life than that which is tangible?
The Pursuit of Hapiness
A young child will go to grade school, leave the house when they are 18, go off to college, find a steady job, get married and have children, then eventually die. Of course, much more than that occurs in between, but in the grand scheme of things, this is generally the sequence in which life tends to transpire. That’s life! But what’s next? During the course of life, there is very little consideration for life’s true purpose, the afterlife, and the reason why humanity was created.

The book of Ecclesiastes records one man’s personal search for happiness and the true meaning of life. Following King Solomon’s lengthy and comprehensive quest, he concluded that this life that we all love and cherish is meaningless and vain (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

But even from a secular viewpoint, we all would agree that no matter how much pleasure we experience during our lives, or how much wealth we accumulate, none of this will be of any benefit to us once we are six feet under in the grave.
The Pursuit of Hapiness
All this considered, there must be a specific plan for mankind, a definitive purpose as to why we were created, and what is to be expected of each and every one of us. Indeed, there must be a way to attain true and everlasting happiness.

According to the Word of God, there is a deeper purpose for mankind on Earth. We were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) with the purpose of becoming joint-heirs with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). God expects us to make serving Him our number one priority (Colossians 3:2; Matthew 6:33). The reality is, there is no true happiness, no benefit outside of a life of true Christianity (Mark 8:36).

A Christian life provides both immediate and long term benefits. Life is much more rewarding and stress-free when we obey God’s laws and commandments. It is important to make the best of our physical lives, but not at the expense of our spiritual lives.

As followers of Christ Jesus, we must be readily willing to deny our physical happiness and to live by the Word, according to the will of God the Father, for we shall be rewarded in due time (John 16:20). Presently, we are living in very sinful and perilous times where the temptations are a challenge to overcome. In our pursuit of true happiness, we must draw close to God so that He can draw close to us (James 4:8).
The Pursuit of Hapiness
We were not created to partake in the vanities of this world, which are considered the path of “happiness” by many. Instead we were created to fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Ecclesiastes is one of the most logical and relevant books in the Bible. It challenges every popular notion of what leads to happiness and the true purpose of this life that we live. This collection of philosophical essays written (approx. 250 BC) by King Solomon, serves a great purpose in acknowledging the fact that “all is vanity” and that one can only live a happy and meaningful life by learning to discern good from evil and by obeying the laws of God. Simply put: life without God is pointless.
The Pursuit of Hapiness
The comprehension of life’s true purpose, according to the Word of God, is the beginning of the pursuit of true happiness which can only be found in Christ Jesus.

Jesus’ victory and authority over sin, death, and the grave belong to those of us that have accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour. True happiness is now ours!

True and eternal happiness for all of mankind will only begin once Jesus Christ returns to Earth to set up His everlasting Kingdom.

Shall we continue to live in vain, according to the flesh, in our pursuit of counterfeit happiness? Can we continue to invest in bags with holes or pour water in broken cisterns? Or, will we live a life of self-denial and obedience according to the will of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ?

What shall it be? You must make a decision soon because the King is coming!

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