Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Happiness
The Declaration of Independence states this, “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. —”
We want to take a closer look into this statement, because this was our declaration for freedom. It starts by saying this, “ We hold these truths to be self-evident.” What does this mean? Well, it means that these truths are obvious. There’s no question about it. It’s a fact. What’s the fact ? All men are created equal. People are created equal, but that does not make their lives equal. Every person is unique, and different in many ways. We are born in different areas of the world, to different parents , with different siblings, with different gifts, and abilities, but we are all members of the human race created by the same God. This is what Paul says about the Body of Messiah, which is much like the human race. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with the Messiah. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many”. Paul goes on to say this which proves that there is equality and importance to every person’s life, just like it is in the Body of Messiah.
1 Corinthians 12:15-20, “Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
We must treat each person according to this truth that we have been created all equal. Paul goes on to tell us how we are to treat one another as 1Corinthians 12:21-26 says, “The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
So because we are all different in many ways, the fact is that we all have the same rights, as we just read. As the human race, when one suffers, we all need to suffer with each other, that is empathy, compassion and love for one another. Paul tells us about love. We are all brothers and sisters, because we all have the same Father. A family must love each other and help each other and build up each other and this is what our declaration goes on to tell us, we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, only here in America do we have such a concept of this ideal thinking, because we have placed our truths in God’s ways. We all have the right to life, and yet, in America we have made laws contrary to that belief. When the founders said life, this is not speaking of how one lives his life, but only in life itself. When the writers of the Declaration of Independence wrote this document, they only knew that life was in God, the Creator of heaven and earth. Yeshua said, “I am the way , the truth and the life”, John 14:16. Today we seem to forget this. There are so many people here in America that believe in so many different religions, that the forefathers did not consider the fact that one day people may have a different belief than in the one true God. But nonetheless, it is still true that in creation we are all equal, and we are all entitled to life. The next right is liberty. God wants us to be free, but yet the Bible speaks of slavery. But even in slavery, the slave owner was to treat his slave with respect and not harsh treatment. We are not going to go into all that God’s Word says about slavery, but know this, that God created all men, and all men are made in the image of God, and no man is to be treated less than human. Yet here in America, we do hardly anything regarding human trafficking and modern day slavery. We have to ask ourselves, were our founders looking into God’s Word when they wrote this declaration, for they themselves were slave owners? So, if life is in God, then for man to be free, he must be free from sin. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1,5 , this, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Messiah hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for the one who has died is freed from sin.”
How else can we be free, unless we are free from the bondage of sin, then we will truly have life and that life abundantly? (John 10:10.)
Next we have the right to pursue happiness. What did the founders consider pursuing happiness? Happiness is different for each person. The simple life can bring some people great joy and happiness, while other people want the better things in life. So if we are created equals and we all have the same rights, then we see that the outcome will not be the same for everyone, because nothing is really the same for each person. Whatever that happiness is, here in America, you are free to pursue it. But once again, were the founders thinking more about God’s Word than thinking about this world? As Psalm 144:15b tells us, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!” When we pursue God, we find happiness.
If our happiness is in God, like our life, and liberty, is, then we find true happiness in contentment. Could they have meant contentment, knowing that when you pursue happiness it can only be in God? Solomon said it in
Ecclesiastes 1:14, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, and have found them all to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.”
As we see Paul speaking about this in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it, either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
And again in Phillipians 4:12, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked an opportunity to act. Not that I speak from need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
During this month that we celebrate these truths to be self-evident, let’s look to God our Creator, to find these unalienable rights in Him, and then celebrate your life, liberty and happiness.