Millions of singles believe they can achieve happiness by becoming wealthy. How about you? Do you equate the good life with financial success?
The rich seem like gods and goddesses, larger than life, living on a different plane than the rest of us. We see them enjoying a glamorous lifestyle and conclude money will solve all our problems.
Yet hardly a week goes by that we don't see some celebrity crash and burn. Then we scratch our heads wondering, "Why did that happen? They've got everything."
If you're young, if you're making your way with your eye on building a fortune, this article will give you something to think about.
Let's be realistic. Money can do good things. It can make life much easier and much more enjoyable.
Money is the key to better quality health care. You can go to the doctor, dentist, and eye doctor more often and afford the care and medications you need. Life is miserable when you're sick, and money can help prevent and cure sickness.
If you have sufficient money, you can also pay for better food, shelter and clothing. Most of us take these things for granted, but when you're poor, those expensive needs can suffer. Being able to afford adequate heat in your home in the winter and air conditioning in the summer definitely makes life more bearable.
Being wealthy gives you extra money for a reliable car, entertainment, vacations, and the treats of life. There's no doubt.
These things are pleasurable and add enjoyment to our existence.
Jesus Christ never railed against money. He warned us about our attitude toward it. The wisest man who ever lived, Jesus commanded us not to make money our first priority.
Most people think the pursuit of happiness is the most important goal in life, but contrary to everything you've heard, money cannot buy happiness.
Here's what no one every tells you: Money can only buy fun. Fun is a temporary state of enjoyment that lasts from minutes to months but eventually fizzles out. Fun is like a steady diet of junk food. There's no spiritual nutrition in it. All the fun in the world won't bring happiness because we need more from life than fun.
I ask you to thoughtfully consider these four statements:
1. Advertisers try to make us believe fun is happiness.
We're a thrill-obsessed, fun-loving culture, constantly looking for new entertainment and distractions. We can't get enough of things that excite our emotions. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with movies, video games, music, and concerts. Leisure is a necessary part of life, but in and of itself, it cannot bring happiness. It's only one component of a happy life. Ask yourself this question: If I can't afford these things, does that doom me to being unhappy? Are these things a requirement of a happy life? Of course not. Use your discernment. Don't let your happiness depend only on things money can buy.
2. Fun doesn't last. Happiness does.
Have you noticed that you have to keep having fun? Its effect doesn't last. It's temporary. Being wealthy lets you have more fun, more often, but even so, it takes an active effort. It's hard to just sit in a chair and have fun. Happiness, on the other hand, is a condition. It lasts. Yes, it may come and go, but it doesn't require constant activity for you to experience it. And happiness is a deep-down satisfaction. It brings joy to your spirit. Happiness is a diamond. Fun is sparkly, attractive, and enticing, but it's cut glass compared to happiness.
3. Wealthy celebrities fail in trying to buy happiness
We don't have to look any farther than the worlds of entertainment and sports to see wealthy people desperately trying to buy happiness. They flit to exotic resorts, drive
outrageously expensive cars, live in mansions, and hang out in nightclubs trying to manufacture a happy life. It doesn't work. They're only buying fun. They get addicted to drugs and alcohol, go bankrupt, get in trouble with the law, and turn into egotistical, spoiled brats. They believe the lie that their wealth can buy happiness, while the rest of us watch them embarrass themselves with their overindulgence. We tell ourselves we would be able to handle it better than them, yet at the same time we refuse to learn from their example that wealth cannot buy happiness.
4. We believe the lie that wealth makes us worthwhile
When you have to do without because you don't have money, you can fall into the trap of believing money makes you more valuable as a person. A shallow, greedy society may believe that, but that doesn't make it so. Wealthy people seem to get more "respect," but in reality it's usually a kind of insincere fawning. We can't wait until we're rich to build healthy self-esteem and be happy. Most of us will never be rich and we'll waste our life waiting. Money comes and goes. If you base your self-worth on money, you'll crash emotionally when you fall on hard times. Many (but not all) rich people are despicable, and many (but not all) poor people are living saints. Money is not a factor in your value as a person.
If money isn't the answer, what is? Here are the qualities of a worthwhile life goal:
When I stopped pursuing wealth and started pursuing intimacy with Jesus Christ, I knew I had found life's highest purpose. Sure, you can have a meaningful career and loving family, but nothing satisfies your heart like a close relationship with Jesus. You know, deep down, that this is what you were made for.
Thank God the Holy Spirit showed me this truth when I was in my 20s. Throughout my life, as I watched people chasing wealth and people going after Jesus, I saw who was genuinely happy and who was not. In my own life, I experienced the shallowness of materialism and the joy of knowing our Savior.
The most exciting part of the Christian life is Jesus is pursuing you much more passionately than you're seeking him. He yearns for a personal friendship with you.
Test this truth yourself. I challenge you. Seek Jesus. Go to him in prayer, obey him, serve others in his name. See what makes you feel whole—your job or Jesus. Yes, we need to eat and pay our bills and live, but there's only one way to live at the highest level. That's united with Jesus in love.
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