Everyone wants to be happy. That is the great pursuit that begins the day we are born. The new born babe crying for his milk, the toddler trying to walk to get to his toy, the children wanting to go to the playground. The pursuit of joy is the common ground for all mankind, from the youngest to the oldest, from the rich to the poor, from the African to the European, from the billionaire to the homeless man, we all are looking for the same thing. The addict in his fix, the businessman in his next deal, the lustful man in his shameful deeds, or the hunter in his kill; we are all the same; all we want is to be happy.
Man will go through extreme sacrifice, pay the highest of prices, and take unreasonable risks in his pursuit of his chosen joy. All of those earthly pursuits only provide a temporary fix for the dilemma, the pursuit never experiences culmination, ultimately disillusionment will set in. Jonathan Edwards spoke of this pursuit, check this out.
“They certainly are the wisest men that do those things that make most for their happiness, and this in effect is acknowledged by all men in the world, for there is no man upon earth but what is earnestly seeking after happiness, and it appears abundantly by their so vigorously trying all manner of ways; they will twist and turn every way, ply all instruments, to make themselves happy men; some will wander all over the face of the earth to find it; they will seek it in the waters and dry land, under the waters and in the bowels of the earth, and although the true way to happiness lies right before ’em and they might easily step into it and walk in it and be brought in it to as great happiness as they desire, and greater than they can conceive of, yet they will not enter into it. They try all the false paths; they will spend and be spent, labor all their lives’ time, endanger their lives, will pass over mountains and valleys, go through fire and water, seeking for happiness amongst vanities, and are always disappointed, never find what they seek for; but yet like fools and madmen they violently rush forward, still in the same ways. But the righteous are not so; these only, have the wisdom to find the right paths to happiness.”
Yep, joy is right in front of us, literally under our nose all throughout our fruitless pursuit. For most of us, the last place we would look for ultimate happiness would be in spiritual things. We have preconditioned ideas that religion is our duty, never our delight. That is the greatest of all surprises about the life Christ offers. Once we surrender our hearts to Him, we begin to discover the incredible joy that comes with the deal. After all, Jesus Himself is the joy of heaven. When He makes His home in our hearts, the joy of the Lord becomes more than a doctrine, it becomes the very heartbeat of our lives.