“Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase so shall thy barns be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. My son despise not the chastening of the Lord: neither be weary of his correction. For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth: even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding.” Proverbs 3:9-13
This is a far cry from what the modern world considers happiness. People consider the ecstatic emotional response from money and material possessions happiness or perhaps a relationship with another person. Sex is also considered happiness by many. These types of things do not produce true happiness because they are all temporary and will soon fade away. As my father use to say “It won’t make you happy when the new wears off.” Manufactured material possessions in and of themselves do not bring happiness to a human soul. Happiness is an inner peace which you will always have regardless of the circumstances around you. That new sports car will not sustain you when disaster strikes.
The things that you posses can make you happy or they can make you miserable depending upon your attitude toward Gods word. If you ignore Gods word you will not have wisdom and understanding and will therefore be disoriented, fearful and unhappy in your life. .
As the above verse tells us happiness comes from wisdom and understanding. Notice that the verse says “the man that finds wisdom”. In order to find wisdom and understanding we must first seek truth because wisdom and understanding perceive truth.
We must always remember that Satan wants to blind us to the truth and lead us away from the direction that God wants us to go. He leads us to believe that if we have a lot of money or a relationship, or a job, or power or whatever it is that we lust after this will make us happy. How many times have we seen a famous movie star on TV look so happy and contented and then read in the papers that they have committed suicide or got divorced. If money produced happiness this would never happen.
Material possessions are from without and stimulate the ego (pride in self which is sin) but wisdom and understanding are from within and produce faith which is pleasing to God. When a man pleases God he will receive blessings from God. Blessings are not necessarily money. Money has nothing whatever to do with happiness. You can be rich and miserable, rich and happy, poor and miserable or poor and happy. For example, a rich man may buy a new Cadillac and be very unhappy with it because it is not exactly the right color. A poor man may buy a 10 year old Ford and be very happy just to have a car. In this case the rich man was spoiled by his ego and lack of wisdom and understanding but the poor man was happy because in his wisdom he understood that all that really matters is that he had transportation and his ego didn’t care what color the car was.
This is a simple illustration but in life the same principals hold true in all situations. Instead of a car it may be a husband or wife, a son or daughter, a job etc. If a man makes learning Gods word a priority in his life he will be gaining wisdom and understanding. If not, things of the world will be filling his mind and eventually control his life. If he has a family they too will be affected by his actions. Simply put, if you are a believer and you don’t learn Gods word consistently the sinful things of the world will take over your life.
We are like fish and Satan is dropping us a hook with a attractive bait on it. The question is do we bite or do we use our wisdom and avoid Satan’s deceit. If we have no wisdom and understanding we will bite and Satan has us.
I must point out that you must continually learn Gods word throughout your life. Why continually? Why can’t you learn for a couple of years and then kick back and enjoy life? You will forget at a rate equal to or more than the rate at which you learn. Worldly pleasures will take over your mind and eventually your actions will be exactly like that of an unbeliever. This is a dangerous time for the Christian because it is the time when God will discipline those whom he loves. First he will impose a warning discipline and if that is ignored then he will impose a sever discipline. This is not happiness however; it can lead to happiness because God can turn cursing into blessing but why not simply be obedient in the beginning and avoid discipline.
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise thou not the chastening of the Almighty. Job 5:17
We can be happy as a nation. We can enjoy freedom because we trust in God.
“Happy is that people…whose God is the Lord” Psm. 144:15
We can be happy in the middle of testing and suffering: “But if ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.
Are you in a situation where you are learning God’s word? Is your spouse? Are your children? If your children attend a youth group in a local church they are not likely to be hearing the Bible taught. Many churches are providing social activities to attract people but once they are attracted they fail to teach them the true Word of God. Far too many churches exist only to collect money and have a tax free status. They will attract people however they can (in God’s name) and throw Bible teaching out the window and replace it with worthless clichés and window dressing. Being a part of this does not produce wisdom and understanding. It produces ignorance. It may seem right at the time and it may even give you the rosie glow but in the end it is a substitute for solid Bible teaching. If you desire to learn the truth and find good Bible teaching you must seek after it and God will lead you to it.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof; from such turn away…ever learning and never being able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” II Timothy 3:1-7.
This is the result of people who have indulged in the world’s pleasures and ignored Gods word. They are not happy people. They have tried to find happiness in everything even in falsely accusing people and hatred of good people.
There will be times in your life when you suffer need. There will be times when you are fruitful. Learning the word of God will give us the ability to have stability and peace in any and all circumstances. In Philippians 4:12-13 Paul writes: I know both how to be abased (suffer need) and I know how to abound (be fruitful): everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”.
If you desire true happiness you can have it. Many people don’t have it because they think that happiness is in all of the worlds pleasures. The pleasures of this world are attractive at first but once you fall into them you will find that they are lifeless, empty and cruel.
Christians will suffer persecutions at some point in their life. “Yea and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution but evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” II Tim 3: 12-13.
God knows what will make you happy. He will provide all of your needs and more. He can give you happiness that you never thought possible.
‘But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things (the details of life) shall be added unto you” Matt. 6:33.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt and thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where neither moth or rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.
For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:19-21.
Therefore we can conclude that happiness comes from learning the infallible Word of God and making it an integral part of our thinking process and our lives. As believers in Jesus Christ we must learn and see to it that our children learn.
“Train up a child the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” II Timothy 3:15