You Can Find Happiness!
DO PROBLEMS always seem to spoil your happiness? They do in the case of many.
In response, some persons ‘pull out all the stops’ and will try just about anything to obtain thrills or get some sort of happiness. Others resign themselves to a life of problems, hoping for a happy future in Nirvana, heaven or elsewhere.
Doing things God’s way is the key to present and future happiness. That is true now, for by following God’s way we can avoid problems that would spoil our enjoyment of life. And doing things his way produces a life-style that makes daily life more pleasant now. To take this out of the abstract, let us consider two common problems—money and loneliness—and see how God’s advice and the Christian way of life can help us to be happy.
HELP WITH MONEY PROBLEMS
You know how necessary money is. A Bible writer put it this way: “Feasting makes you happy and wine cheers you up, but you can’t have either without money.” (Eccl. 10:19, Today’s English Version) With inflation, every day it costs more to live. How can the Bible help?
For one thing, the application of Bible teachings can help you to have a job and earn the money you need. For example, the Scriptures stress the value of industriousness and honesty.
“Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work.”—Eph. 4:28.
“Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living, . . . In this way . . . you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need.”—1 Thess. 4:11, 12, “TEV.”
Think how practical that advice is. Oh, it is true that some persons get ahead by cheating, stealing and bribery or by using influential connections. But overall and in the long run, if you apply such Biblical advice you will do better than those ignoring it. Why?
You probably have noted that employers and managers often complain about workers coming in late, loafing or being untrustworthy. So a person who, because of applying God’s advice, is punctual, works hard and is honest usually can find work and is appreciated. He may be paid more and likely will be kept on the job when others are laid off. Reflect on these two cases:
An electrical appliance store in South Africa suffered from employee theft, and the manager assembled all the African staff and said they were fired. But the next day, on his usual train to work, one employee met another and asked, ‘How is it that you are going to work?’ The reply: The manager had told him privately that because of his honesty he was an exception. The same was so with the first employee. When they got to the job they met a third worker who had been told the same thing. All were genuine Christians.
A director of a British road-building firm told Robert to tell any callers that he was not in. Yet when Robert received a call for the director he explained that the man was occupied. Criticized for that, Robert explained that as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses he could not lie. (Eph. 4:25) Later, when a promotion was being considered, a colleague raised doubts about Robert’s honesty. But the director defended him with facts. Robert was promoted.
In other aspects, too, following the Bible’s advice can help you to avoid or to cope with money problems and, hence, can add to your happiness.
God’s Word firmly cautions about borrowing money. It says: “The borrower is a slave of the lender.” (Prov. 22:7, Revised Standard Version) While the Bible does not forbid borrowing, this sort of wise advice gives additional help in a person’s resisting temptations to buy on credit, only to pay high interest and get in debt.
The Bible urges true worshipers to respect and care for the property of others. It also points out that cleanness is important. (Deut. 22:1-4; 23:12-14; Ex. 30:18-21) Christians who thus take care of a home they rent are often valued as tenants and so can rent more economically. From an African capital comes this meaningful report:
A Christian family kept their rented home clean and paid the rent promptly. (Rom. 13:8) When about to move away, they introduced the owner to another family from the congregation. He said that normally he would greatly increase the rent, but knowing such people to be reliable and clean he left it the same, about half of the rent common in the area.
Another way of increasing happiness by accepting God’s advice is by avoiding some habits and practices that are financially harmful. One is heavy drinking, even drunkenness, which the Bible condemns. It costs a lot to buy alcoholic beverages, and drunkenness is behind much work absenteeism and many accidents. The Bible truthfully warns: “Do not be one of those forever tippling wine . . . for the drunkard and glutton impoverish themselves, and a drowsy head makes a wearer of rags.” (Prov. 23:20, 21, The Jerusalem Bible) Thus, by doing things God’s way one can lessen or avoid money problems and can, from various standpoints, be happier.
Finally, we take a major step toward happiness when we accept God’s view of wealth or riches. Does that mean renouncing money? No, for money can be a protection. (Eccl. 7:12) Yet God’s Word emphasizes contentment. In this vein Jesus advises us not to strive for wealth, but to be satisfied with what we have or what we can reasonably get. Take the time to read his meaningful words on this at Luke 12:22-31. In addition, the Bible urges: “When we have nourishment and covering, let us be content with these.” (1 Tim. 6:8, Berkeley Version) That is so beneficial. In fact, even modern psychologists are coming to see that if you have that view of money, you will be a happier person.
COPING WITH LONELINESS
But what if your unhappiness is related not to money problems but to discouraging loneliness? If that is not the case with you personally, it probably is with many whom you know. In a poll of 52,000 persons, over 40 percent said that they “often feel lonely.” It was this feeling that most consistently spoiled the happiness of old and young, male and female.
Since this may be a problem involving a person’s lack of close family or friends, how can doing things God’s way help? What does the Bible have to say about this that can increase happiness?
For one thing, loneliness often causes depression and the loss of self-respect. But if you are interested in doing things God’s way you cultivate a good relationship with him. This can help to temper loneliness, for you gain a sense of real worth, knowing that our Creator is personally interested in you and is willing to help you.—Matt. 18:10.
Additionally, the Bible goes beyond the common advice to lonely persons—to “keep busy”—by urging Christians to be active in good works. Please read in Acts 9:36-42 how one Christian woman, who might have been vulnerable to loneliness, did this. See how she spent time making things for others. In the process she gained many dear Christian friends and got the happiness that comes with giving.—Acts 20:35.
One good work and a form of giving that is unique to true Christianity is teaching others the truth of God’s Word. This keeps zealous Christians beneficially occupied. It brings one in touch with a variety of persons. And it is immensely satisfying, for thus you are helping others to come close to God and gain happiness. So, while this public proclamation of the “good news” is an obligation—part of doing God’s will now—it is also a source of personal happiness.
Too, God urges Christians to meet together regularly for Bible study and fellowship. (Heb. 10:24, 25) While just being around other people is not necessarily the full solution to the problem of loneliness, regular and warm association with loving Christians certainly does help. Experience proves that. We encourage you to attend a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses. There you can observe how following Bible advice is helping many to cope with loneliness, as well as to deal with problems involving money, marriage, stress and various common wreckers of happiness.
As long as the present system of things exists, you can expect that problems will exist. But rather than resigning yourself to these or trying various uncertain methods of coping with them, why not do what assuredly can bring you success and greater happiness? That is, learn about God’s thinking and then apply it. As millions of persons around the globe know from experience, this will help you to avoid many common problems and to cope better with those that remain. Thus you will see that the way to happiness will not be blocked. You will have found and used the key.
The result for you will be a more meaningful life, God’s approval and increased happiness.
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“FINDING THAT ELUSIVE STATE OF HAPPINESS”
Psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers explained that ‘when we talk about what we want most out of life, we are really talking about happiness.’ Is money the key to that? She said:
“A person with an income of $100,000 may be more comfortable, better dressed, and live better than someone with an income of $20,000, but he will not be significantly happier. . . .
“The facts are that a modestly adequate income does make for happiness and that great sums of money rarely do. Money is a delusion. It can also be a snare, a trap to prevent you from reaching your most cherished goals.”
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“In their own congregational life Witnesses form a genuine community of trust and acceptance. . . . The Jehovah’s Witnesses offer [one] an alternative life strategy that gives its adherents a way to find identity and self-respect, a community of acceptance, and hope for the future.”—“Religious Movements in Contemporary America.”