Sunday, June 24, 2007

pursuit of happiness.

6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1Timothy 6)

As the Declaration of Independence states, we are entitled to "life, liberity, and the pursuit of happiness." Sadly, people take this right to heart, their evil, wicked, and defiled heart, to chase after meaningless things in life; they are constantly mistakening the pleasures of sin for happiness. Even Solomon in Ecclesiastes wrote about the futility of searching for contentment in earthly venues, as it all fades away.

Fortunately, in Paul's letter to Timothy, he gives a clear guideline of how to gain this happiness: it's godliness with contentment. It sounds redundant, to be happy is to be content, but those two concepts are wholly different. Contentment is a choice. One chooses to be satisfied by what is allotted to him. Happiness is a feeling, often times fleeting, but surely it is an emotional response. To choose, willingly, to be content, and all the while being full of godliness, will result in bouts of happiness. Realistically, a christian will not always be happy, but a christian should always be content.

11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. These are the things we are to pursue. No where in here does Paul mention happiness. Happiness is a nice feeling, but it can never exist in a permanent state on this earth. Instead, we are to pursue things that are eternal. Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness will inevitably lead us to happiness, but they will also help us keep our eyes on the heaven, and subsequently to be fully content.

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