This past week I read several posts in the personal finance blogosphere that talked about how having more money can lead to living a happier life. While I do believe that having enough to keep ourselves out of poverty is a desirable thing, I don’t think having money or any material thing is what can lead us to living a truly happy life. Unfortunately I think that quite the opposite often holds true. Things can cloud our focus, and cause us to lose sight of the person who truly is THE SOURCE for all happiness.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:12-13
The world tells us that when we concentrate on things, money, success and on protecting all of those things at any cost – that we will be happy. Those things will give us fulfillment. The problem is, the world also tells us the lie that who we are and what we have is never enough.
God tells us that we need to put our focus on Him.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
In His word we are called to be good stewards of all that we have been entrusted with. As part of that we need to recognize God as the source for all good things – whether we are given much or if we have little, we are to thank Him for his provision. Through him we find contentment – and happiness.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People 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. For 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. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. – 1Timothy 6:6-11
We need to let the Lord manage our lives, instead of allowing our lives, and the things in them manage us and distract us from our Savior. We need to realize that true eternal happiness – not the fleeting and disappearing kind found in things – comes only through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Like I’ve pointed out in those other blogs, too many people confuse JOY and Happiness.
Money DOES buy happiness, because happiness is dependent on outside circumstances. It’s fleeting, and it can be bought, and lost just as easily.
However, JOY is a fruit of the Spirit, and is not dependent on money, outside circumstances or anything else. It is solely dependent on a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
So yeah, don’t confuse happiness and Joy. They really are two different things. A Christian might not be too happy because he/she is always going through difficult, hard, sad times (raises hand), but he/she can be filled with Joy that comes only through Jesus Christ and His Love.
Peter Anderson says
You make a good point, thanks for the clarification.
Excellent excellent post. This is something that I really had to focus on not too long ago, and is still something that I place in high regard. It is very easy to get caught up with our materialistic society.
I really liked this: “We need to let the Lord manage our lives, instead of allowing our lives, and the things in them manage us and distract us from our Savior”. John MacArthur from Grace to You mentioned this concept briefly in a recent sermon, kinda stuck with me.
Michelle Traudt says
I love this post!! And I could not agree more!! Chasing money will never make us happy, only chasing after God. Thank you for writing this!