Friday, April 10, 2015

The Pursuit of Happiness

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."  
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps this is where our problem lies.  We have pursued happiness as our goal and our purpose in life.  When happiness becomes our goal and purpose, we are forever pursuing it and it is forever just out of our reach.

For what makes us truly happy?

Today it might be a new car, but tomorrow when the car needs repairs, what then?

We take off in pursuit again.

Today is might be our spouse, but tomorrow when they disappoint us, what then?

We take off in pursuit again.

Today it might be a new house, but tomorrow when we have to clean it, what then?

We take off in pursuit again.

Today is might be a new job, but tomorrow when our boss requires too much of us, what then?

We take off in pursuit again.

Please understand me; I'm not saying there's anything wrong with any of these things, but when they become the object of our happiness, they have become idols.  They will never make us truly happy.

We will never be continually happy.
There are too many variables in life that cause disappointment, trauma, depression, anger, frustration, bitterness, and ultimate unhappiness.

When we are able to recognize that our purpose in life is to be useful, to be honorable and to be compassionate to such a degree that we have made a difference in someone's life, than happiness sits lightly on our shoulders.

"Happiness, like a butterfly, settles upon you when you least expect it."

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
Matthew 16:25

There is profound truth in this age-old cliche - "It IS in giving that we receive."  It IS in blessing others that we are fulfilled and blessed ourselves.  This is the divine truth that the Bible talks about.

When I spend myself in sacrifice for others, than I am truly blessed and nothing can rob me of that joy!

When I allow God to use me in such a way that fulfills another's need, then I am truly blessed to be His hands and feet here on earth.

To be honorable; what does that mean?

It means to live a life of honesty and integrity - even when, or especially when, no one is watching.

When I choose to do the right thing even in the midst of all others doing the wrong thing, my reward is great in heaven.  When I do the right thing without calling attention to it, but just do it for the sake of doing the right thing, that is living a life of honor.

The peace, self-respect and joy we receive knowing we've done what pleases our heavenly Father can never be replaced by any THING that might bring temporary happiness.

To be honest just for the sake of being honest when you're the only one who will know that you've been honest, builds a heart of character, integrity and self-respect.

To show compassion, to feel mercy, to share in the deep suffering of another is to walk out of your own joys or sorrows to come alongside another in their time of need.

To show compassion in a world of those who constantly seek their own and climb over others to do it, is to show forth the character of our most compassionate Jesus, who, because of the compassion in His heart for us and the love of His Father, chose to die a horrible death for our sake, not His own!

The compassion of the little things in our daily lives - letting someone out in traffic who might have to wait 5 minutes for a break - is showing compassion.

A young mother is standing in the check-out line at the supermarket with a crying baby; can you give her your place in line?
Or is your time more valuable?
After all, you were there first!

These are small acts of compassion that allow your heart capacity to grow into feeling the needs of others and, when in your ability to help, you respond with compassion.

Matthew 7:12 tells us:

Galatians 6:7 also tells us that what you sow you reap.

What would you want someone to do for you in the same circumstance?

To allow yourself to enter into the need of another and respond to that need with a heart of compassion, truly shows the condition of the heart.

More than just outward deeds and expressions, they spring from a heart that is willing to "enter in" to another's situation even if you get "messy" in the process.

When we are continually pursuing our own happiness, our heart will always respond in selfishness in any given situation.

Are you living a life of usefulness to God and others?
Are you daily choosing to walk honorably before your God?
Are you living a life of compassion toward others?

If you answered yes, then you can be assured that you have lived well and your life has made a difference!


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