My Musings – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.
God gave us life and liberty (freedom to make our own choices). The pursuit of happiness is a bit more problematic. Man has a tendency to find (or think he can find) happiness in all the wrong places and with all the wrong things. More often than not, these rob us of the very thing we are pursuing. We would be better off pursuing joy (which is not dependent upon things or circumstances) rather than happiness (which usually is dependent upon things or circumstances).
Better yet, as the above verse states, we should pursue righteousness and love, which results in life, prosperity and honor. We need to remember, however, that an abundant life is more about quality than quantity, lasting prosperity has little to do with an abundance of “things” (which moths and rust can destroy) and honor has more to do with our character than it does with how much fame an adulation we can achieve. And how ironic it is, that when we get it backwards (we pursue long life, prosperity in things and honor absent humility), righteousness and love (and happiness) often eludes us.
My Advice – Let’s make sure what we pursue is not only worth the chase, but is also worth catching.
My Musings – We usually think that a broken spirit is a negative thing. But how could God possibly forgive a proud and rebellious spirit? The text implies that God actually despises such a spirit. Genuine contrition (feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming) is not possible absent a humble and penitent heart.
My Advice – Do not allow a proud or rebellious spirit get in the way of a humble and penitent heart.
Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – We need to be alert to actions and thoughts that are contrary to our hearts. No matter how insignificant that they may seem. Because eventually they will pollute our hearts. Changes in the heart will almost always affect what you think, how you act and who you are (wellspring of life). It may be a slow process (like erosion) but changes in the heart are harder to correct.
My Advice – Do not kid yourself by thinking that you can brush up against sin and not become entangled. You cannot simply just have a bite, because one bite calls for another. Avoid situations that you know are wrong but are tempted by. Stay away, turn around, flee from them.
Job 1:21 – “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (NIV 1984)
My Musing – In reality, you can take it with you. Not the possessions you might accumulate in this life of course. You might actually die with these things possessing you instead of you possessing them. Whichever is the case, you must relinquish them as you pass into eternity – whatever your final destination. But there are some things that you can take with you.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:3-7)
What He has given us is not measured by the abundance of our possession or the wealth that we may happen to accumulate over a lifetime. These may not even last our lifetime, and we certainly cannot take them with us. But the above qualities can be ours, and we will take them with us into eternity. How much the measure increases (1 Peter 3:8) in this lifetime, and how much we carry into the next life, is entirely up to us. You see, “it’s not how much you [possess] but what you do with what you have [been given].” So how full have you packed your suitcase?