This is a re-post of a note I published July 4, 2013 on Facebook. I am transferring my notes from Facebook into my Float the River blog.
It is time to come clean. I have a problem. A big one. A problem that is an eternity removed from just the basic problems that inconvenience us all on a daily basis. So I don’t leave you hanging and wondering what kind of juicy revelation I am about to make, I will just lay it out there plain and simple.
I am committed to the American way. No, that is way to shallow. I IDOLIZE and WORSHIP the American way. I bow before the throne of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I have set boundaries on what each of those things are to look like in my life. I have defined for myself what my life should look like, what I deserve, and what my blessings ought to be. I have a right to and I deserve nothing less.
The foundational problem with the core belief of my right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is that it is antithetical to what it means to follow Christ. I am demanding of God something that is opposed to what His purposes are. No wonder I get frustrated with God. I expect Him to do that which is foreign to His purposes and character.
You see, God defines “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in His own way and if I am going to live a life of peace and joy, I need to reverse my attitude. I need to submit to God’s ways instead of demanding that He cater to mine.
Now, don’t get me wrong. God IS all about those things. He just defines them differently than I do.
Life is a relationship with Jesus (John 17:3). In fact, the life He gives is an abundant life, an over-flowing life (John 10:10). THAT life though is only found by listening to Him and following Him (John 10:1-4); letting Him lead and letting Him teach. It is HIS wishes that drive me, not mine driving Him.
Yes, God promises and delivers freedom (John 8:31-32), just not the freedom we cling to. Freedom in Christ is not found in being able to pursue and do whatever I want to. The freedom God promises is the freedom to be who He created me to be…a worshipper and servant of God. The nature of sin controls us and compels us away from God to serve our own desires, something we were never created to do. Liberty from God is being released from the slavery that keeps us from Him so that we can serve Him and His desires…the only freedom that brings genuine, lasting blessing.
Pursuit of Happiness
The pursuit of happiness is really the pursuit of blessing. We want goodness, joy, peace, and the enjoyment of pleasure. Those are all good desires if we trust and pursue what our Creator and Savior promises will bring their fulfillment in our lives. Jesus was crystal clear on what that life looks like. He taught very plainly in Matthew 5:3-12 where blessing (some translations say “happiness”) is found…
*being poor in spirit
*hunger and thirst for personal righteousness
*being pure in heart
*being a peace-maker
*being persecuted for righteousness and the name of Christ
*trusting that God will reward a life lived faithful to Him
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…follow Jesus and submit to Him. He is the Lord, the Creator, the Savior. The day each of us declare that is the real Independence Day.