Post written by Raymund and Denielle Tamayo
There was a May 2004 article by Reader’s Digest in England about a survey conducted on what people perceive as The Keys to Happiness. Below are the top 10 results of the survey, with our insights in supplement.
1. Wealth – Yes, I believe in some degree, money can give us happiness, albeit temporarily. There’s nothing wrong about making money or having money. In fact, the Bible said that it is God who gives us the ability to produce wealth (Deut. 8:18).
It is the “love of money,” which is the root of all evil. As long as we manage our blessings well, become a faithful steward of God, share our blessing to those in need, and love God more than money, you don’t have to be guilty about abundance. Let’s use it as a tool to enjoy life more so God will be glorified.
In Luke 12:14, our Lord Jesus said “Watch out! Be on guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Of course, we agree. Money is for providing our daily needs and for helping others, but not to give us happiness.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with money as long as we recognize what place it should have in our lives. Learn this truth now and it will save you a lot of pain.
2. Desire – 18,000 students in 39 countries said that they are less happy when they recognized that their desires were less than what they had. On the other hand, the students who recognized that their desires were the same with what they have are much happier.
What does this mean? This means that we cannot have real happiness by satisfying ourselves with more material possessions. When we have more, we just merely want more, and not be contented.
1 Timothy 6:6 says that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” It didn’t change. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, it’s still the same principle. Being content is learning to be satisfied with what you have, but not satisfied with what you can become. Let’s enjoy the present without sacrificing our future.
3. Intelligence – Surveys indicated that less intelligent people are happier than those who have higher IQs. However, friendship and fellowship improved their happiness level.
What does this tell us? Having wisdom to live a fruitful life is a blessing from God. Wisdom and knowledge alone won’t give us happiness. It is the sharing of these to others that give us great joy.
The Bible says in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God.” Wisdom comes only from God and we all have the same privilege to seek wisdom from Him whatever our IQ is. We cannot boast about our intelligence in front of God.
4. Genetics – The Reader’s Digest article said that there are people born with happy genes, but they don’t have a major part in being happy or living a happy life.
The bigger cause of our happiness has to do with what is going on in our lives. Happiness is in the doing, not in the getting what we want.
Read Matthew 7:24-27 and discover how to find lasting happiness. And you don’t need special genes to build your life on the “Rock.”
5. Beauty – The article said that people who thought they were beautiful (or handsome for males) were happier than those who did not.
We have to remember that beauty is just a matter of opinion. What we think about ourselves when it comes to looks are far more important than what other people do. Philippians 4:8-9 is something worth thinking about.
6. Friendship – Surprisingly, people who lived in the slums with many friends are happier than those living in more suitable and wealthy areas.
A note of caution for the church: 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 caring about each other (Hebrews 10:25).
7. Marriage – It says in the analysis of reports from 42 countries that married people were found to be consistently happier than singles. Furthermore, the studies showed that living together without getting married are less happy.
There is something about doing it in God’s way. Genesis 2:24 says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
8. Faith – Studies found a positive link about happiness and faith. Faith gives people meaning and purpose in life, and a hope for the afterlife. Jesus said it Himself in John 6:48, “I am the bread of life.”
9. Charity – Studies showed that giving made people happier. It’s true.
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.
10. Age – Older people were found to be happier than younger people. Maybe because of the fact that older people have already learned how to live with the hardships of life. So don’t be sad about getting older! Age brings wisdom.
These are our thoughts about that “happiness” survey.
What more can we say? It’s still the same message: Acquiring, buying, and possessing material stuff can’t bring us lasting happiness. It is found within us, within our relationship with our Creator and relationship to others.