Is money key to your happiness?

By: Gerald Katayi

Would you be happier if you were richer? In a survey, researchers at the University of Michigan asked people what would improve the quality of their lives.  The majority of people surveyed said, “More money.”  Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi, a best-selling author and psychologist quips, “If we are so rich why aren’t we happy?” “Material things in themselves have failed to make people happy.  There is an interesting psychological quirk at work here.  We work hard so we can make more money, get more expensive cars, and live in bigger homes.  But when we make more money and have more expensive cars and bigger homes, we immediately start feeling that that is not enough.  The more we have, the more we want (or need, depending on how you look at it).”

No one can argue against the fact that a minimum necessary of financial power is needed in order to satisfy basic needs. Nevertheless, money is not the key to happiness. On the contrary,

Some people believe that fulfillment and happiness can come by divorce, “marriage”, “re-marriage”, “alternate lifestyles”, rebellion, homosexuality, abortion, incest, pornography,  masturbation, illicit sex, use of drugs and alcohol, smoking, clubbing, “dancing”, “partying”, cheating, lying, and any other activity or way of thinking that may falsely promote a “sense of happiness”. No, happiness can not come by all these things either.

Why do people “run after” these things while very much knowing they are no good? Because they sometimes produce a feeling of satisfaction and happiness! They satisfy the sinful nature! They feel good! If they didn’t feel good, no one would bother pursue them. But are they fulfilling or bring happiness?  They are NOT! They perpetuate dependence on fleeting moments of “happiness” and “pleasure” and destroy the integrity and sense of responsibility and accountability in each other. They destroy your vision and your opportunities for growth and self-actualization. In other words, these things damage relationships.

Happiness comes to you only when you OBEY God. It is the result of OBEYING His Word. Matthew 5:6 — “Blessed” are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Do you know what “blessed” mean? It comes from the Greek word “makarios”, meaning extreme happiness; being in a state of bliss; being completely fulfilled, in need of nothing. Jesus says you will be happy if you are identifying yourself with these “attitudes”, or motives. Jesus says, “If you are merciful, you will be happy, because you will receive mercy.” Happiness is the RESULT of living a life that pleases God. Jesus didn’t say, “If you feel good, you will be happy, therefore do whatever pleases you.” Never in the Bible is godly happiness associated with how one may feel. Feelings are fleeting. At one moment they are there, the next moment they are gone. If we were to depend on them to define our attitude on life, we would be very unstable and not trustworthy.

Everyone wants to be happy. God also wants us to be happy and created us to be happy. Happiness is not in question; the question is how to achieve happiness.  There is a superficial or passing happiness which you can get through drugs, illicit sex, and alcohol. And there is a deep and abiding happiness that we could call blessedness which only Jesus can give. Your flesh cannot be satisfied, only your soul can. And your soul can only be satisfied in Jesus.

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