Attached is a short essay entitled "The Source of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." I was prompted this morning to write this out of obedience to the Lord and in response to the state of our nation and church. I have great hope that God will use this to encourage, uplift, and edify those who would take a few minutes to read it.
I welcome any comments regarding your thoughts on this subject. I look forward to hearing what each of you have to say!
Blessings in Christ,
“The Source of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” by Anthony Polenski
This morning I had been reading a book called, “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper. A couple of important truths struck me to the core and I felt as though God was calling me to share them with each of you. Today, we live in a country founded upon Judeo-Christian beliefs and values. All men were created equal and given by God inalienable rights. The heretical ideologies of left wing liberalism has sought to expand these rights far beyond the realm and scope of what our founders and most importantly what God had intended in bestowing them upon us. Our rights were given to us by God and were documented in the Declaration of Independence at the founding of our nation and are as follows; to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and free health care! But this is neither a political essay nor where I wish to focus my attention. I want to meditate on and look at our God given right to the “pursuit of happiness.”
God gave to each of us; life and breath, liberty and freedom, and the opportunity to pursue whatever we believe to be that which will bring us the greatest amount of happiness in life. Now, in reading the Word of God and growing in my understanding of the nature and character of God over the past 3 years, I’ve found that the Bible teaches that God created man for the purpose of demonstrating his nature and character and ultimately to glorify Himself in the earth. God did not create us with the purpose of making us happy alone. In “Don’t Waste Your Life” John Piper writes, “This was the reason we were created. Delighting in God was not a mere preference or option in life; it was our joyful duty and should be the single passion of our lives. Therefore to resolve to maximize his happiness in God was to resolve to show him more glorious than all other sources of happiness. Seeking happiness in God and glorifying God were the same.” What an amazing truth! This great truth brought me to reflect upon just how blessed we have been by God to have been “chosen” to be born in the United States of America and to pursue happiness here upon its shores.
I have known that God had a very powerful and timely purpose for the creation and preservation of the United States of America. He created this nation with predominately Christian, God-fearing men and women. God created this nation to be a place that would attract people from all over the world who did not yet know God, or know of the life, liberty, and happiness that could only be found in the pursuit of Him. John Piper once wrote, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” This nation was to be a place where its citizens reflected this truth in their lives by pursuing happiness and satisfaction in God through both good times and bad and that their joy in Him was not dependent upon external circumstances but rather by their internal relationship with their Heavenly Father. If we as Christians in America lived our lives freely pursuing life, liberty, and happiness in knowing, serving, and enjoying God, all those who came here in search of these things, would be led to the only source where they can be found; in God Himself. Then they would look upon us, the church, and see the goodness of God manifested in us, thus pointing to Him as our source of life, liberty, and happiness. Unfortunately many of us, “Christians” have pursued happiness in worldly pursuits such as success, fame, and fortune instead of in the very God who created them. In doing so, we have eliminated the very distinction that would cause others coming to America to be brought into a relationship with God. Romans 1:25 says, “Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” We have made this very same error and its consequences can be devastating. God did not create this nation to be a “religious” nation that worshiped the creation itself or the objects of life, liberty, and happiness but rather a nation where the author and source of life, liberty, and happiness would be made known to all who might arrive here. This would occur by the church itself, being the hands and feet of Christ, thus displaying to all that Christ himself was alive and well; and moving in the midst of His people.
Throughout history and even still, so many “Christian” pastors teach people that Gods intention in creating man was to make them obey a set of rules or “commandments.” And that life was based upon and found in who could or could not maintain the highest level of what Pastor Matt Chandler termed “moralistic deism.” This is not even remotely close to what the Bible actually teaches. This is like believing that the reason a husband and wife decide to give birth to a son or daughter is so that they could teach the child to obey a set of rules or commandments. This is not only untrue but rather absurd if you truly think about it. Do parents give their children rules and teach them how to follow them? Yes. But it is not their highest aim in making the decision to start a family. The same is true about God. Does God give us rules and commandments to follow? Most definitely. But is this his ultimate purpose in creating? Absolutely not! God, just like the parents of a new child create with the desire in their heart that their children would experience life, liberty, and be given the opportunity to pursue happiness. They also desire to lavish their children with love and come to watch their children grow to love them as well. The difference is found when we pursue ultimate happiness and fulfillment in loving our earthly mother and father alone. For if we do so we will not be found satisfied. We could have the “perfect” mother and father as I feel I did in many ways but still find that inside we have a void that cannot be filled by them. And this should not come as a surprise because God did not intend for anything or anyone in this world to be able to bring ultimate happiness or satisfaction except for God Himself. Should we love our parents? Yes and Amen! But if we were created to pursue happiness and the greatest happiness exists only when we delight in, learn about, and grow to love the God who created us, then any other lesser, worldly pursuit will inevitably fall short. Then we will be left to seek the filling of this void in any number of unhealthy and sinful ways as I did in drugs, alcohol, and inappropriate relationships.
God created us to enjoy him forever. And this is why he gave to us the blessing of living in the United States of America. John Piper’s professor in seminary, a man by the name of Dr. Fuller wrote in his book “Unity of the Bible”, “God ordained a redemptive history whose sequence fully displays his glory, so that, at the end, the greatest possible number of people would have had the historical antecedents necessary to engender (the most) fervent love for God… The one thing God is doing in all of redemptive history is to show forth his mercy in such a way that the greatest number of people will throughout eternity delight in him with all their heart, strength, and mind… When the earth of the new creation is filled with such people, then God’s purpose in showing forth his mercy will have been achieved… All the events of redemptive history and their meaning as recorded in the Bible compose a unity in that they conjoin to bring about this goal.”
In conclusion, we can trust that the more “religious” Christians in America become, the less others will see in “the church of Jesus Christ” the mercy, love, and compassion of God. And the more we seek happiness in worldly pursuits and riches, the less God will be glorified in us and the less happiness we ourselves will find. God did not send Christ to the cross to bring about a “religious people.” God sent Christ to the cross to display his love, mercy, and compassion towards mankind, and to bring about a people who would display to the rest of the world, the same love, mercy, and grace, that they themselves had received. As Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That they would be a people that would fill the earth and this nation specifically who would pursue happiness in God above all things, living not as religious “church attendees” but radical lovers of God and their fellow man. So where do we go from here? In our world today, truth is being obscured, even destroyed, and God is being removed from all corners of society, while the very church of Jesus Christ is giving into worldly temptation and sacrificing biblical truth on the altar of tolerance. As a nation we must turn back to God and pursue life, liberty and happiness in Him and Him alone. We must not seek nor expect the government to meet these needs and others like them. They cannot and will not. Period.
We must not live our lives for the purpose of obeying commandments alone, and in doing so we are to be found trying to build our very own tower of Babel; constructing a righteousness of our own based on works. But rather we must remember what God intended for us in giving to us commandments in the first place. Commandments were never meant to bring life; only to help us find it. If there was a commandment that could of brought life, the Bible says Jesus then died for no purpose. But we as believers are no longer under the law, but under grace. If there was a commandment that we could begin to follow as a means of growing in our intimacy with Christ and our pursuit of happiness in God we must cling and adhere to Jesus’ words in Mark 12:29-31. When asked by the scribes as to what is the greatest commandment, Jesus responds, “The most important is ‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Brothers and sisters, if we are to bring this nation back into fellowship with God, we as the church must first pursue our happiness in developing and growing our relationship with God the Father through Christ. This is the vertical relationship that empowers us by the grace of God itself to live out our horizontal relationships in obedience to God, in loving our neighbor as ourselves. Draw this picture of our vertical relationship to God and our horizontal relationship to our fellow man and you have the two great commandments given to us by Jesus himself in Mark 12 and the very symbol of the cross, upon which God himself hung, bled, and died, to bring us life, liberty, and the only true, everlasting, and eternal happiness; in the pursuit of Christ alone.