The May 2004 (UK edition) of the Reader?s Digest carried an interesting article on keys to a happy life. Here is a quick review of them with my comments added.
Money can buy a degree of happiness. But once you can afford to feed, cloth and house yourself each extra pound makes less and less difference?.
Luke 12:14-21 would agree with this conclusion. Money is for providing our daily up keep not happiness. There is nothing wrong with money when we recognise what place it should take in our life. Learn this truth now and it will save you a lot of pain.
18,000 students in 39 countries responding to a questionnaire were found to have less happiness when they perceived that what they desired was less than what they had. Those students who perceived that what they desired was not much different from what they had were happier. Instead of satisfying our desires more wealth merely stirs us to want more - with the result that happiness eludes us.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 agrees with this conclusion. How often have we thought that if only our desires can be met we would be happy? It is not so. Learning to be satisfied with what we have at present means we can enjoy the present while we work towards the future.
Surveys indicate that intelligent people are not happier than less intelligent people. However, friendship and fellowship can affect our happiness.
Having wisdom to live a fruitful life is what the bible sees as a blessing. We all have the same privilege to seek wisdom from God James 1:5.
Are people born with genes to be happy. The Reader?s Digest article recorded that they may have a role to play but not a major part. The bigger cause of our happiness has to do with what is going on in our lives.
Matthew 7:24 - 27 is a much more sure way of finding lasting happiness and you do not need any special genes to take advantage of it.
The article found that people who thought they were beautiful (or handsome presumably) were happier than those that did not. We have to remember that beauty is a matter of opinion.
What you think about yourself with regards to looks is far more important that what other people do. Philippians 4: 8- 9 is something worth thinking about.
People living in slums were interviewed. Surprising those with friends were found to be happier than those living in more suitable and wealthy areas.
A note of caution should be sounded to church organisations here. Christian life can so easily be taken over by activities. People sitting down listening to someone talk. More time should be made for proper fellowship among one another. Fellowship breeds friendship. Jesus called his disciples friends (John 21:5). We should spend more time getting to know and care about each other (Hebrews 10:25)
Some pretty familiar conclusions here. In analysis of reports from 42 countries, married people were found to be consistently happier than singles. Further more, the studies also found that ?living together? without getting married did not bring the same effects of happiness.
There is something about doing it the proper way. Maybe Genesis 2: 24 - 25 has something to do with it.
Studies found a positive link between happiness and religion. Religion gives people meaning in life and hope for the afterlife.
I don?t think too much needs to be said here. Jesus said it Himself - John 6:48.
Studies found that giving made people happy.
In Luke 6:37 - 38 Jesus taught that when we give it would be given back to us. Many associate this purely to money. But when you read the verses in context of the passage you discover it goes much further than that.
You can give forgiveness, time and friendship. The benefits to you will be enormous. Holding tightly to all that you have will bring the opposite effect of happiness.
Old people were found to be happier than younger people. One of the reasons suggested for this was the fact that older people may have learnt how to live with the hardships of life. It is almost like saying they have learnt to live by several of the nine factors mentioned above.
The moral of the story is this - happiness is not possessed by what you have but what you know. However, knowing the causes of happiness is not enough, you have to live it.
You have been told.