Money Can’t Buy You Happiness

As a child, my friends and I would sit around in the park near my house discussing what we wanted to be when we grew up. The most common answers we all would give, besides a professional athlete, was a doctor or lawyer. You know why we gave those answers? It wasn’t because we cared about medicine or the law. Many of us didn’t even know what those jobs involved. Instead, we answered in those ways because we knew doctors and lawyers made a lot of money.

I lived in a lower middle class neighborhood as a child. We didn’t have all the luxuries many kids grow up with today. We always had clothing and food and a little bit more, but we didn’t have many of the luxuries of life. We saw a career as a doctor or lawyer as a way to get those luxuries. As a way to “make it” so to speak. I’m sure if you think back to your childhood, many of you probably had similar conversations.

Many of us are still chasing those luxuries. Many of us are still seeking to “make it”. We are working ourselves to the bone. Sacrificing every chance we get to make an extra dollar, to build another relationship, to connect with someone we think can help us get ahead. We miss time with our family, with our friends, with our church. We bend the rules at times, operating in the grey because it benefits us.

But here is the thing. Money can’t buy you happiness. It can’t buy you friends. It can’t buy you what you really need. It is temporary. When it is gone, the lifestyle you were striving to sustain, the possessions you were after, they are gone. Seeking to “make it” is one big lie and an even bigger let down.

When this young man ran out of money, his friends didn’t come to his aid. They were no where to be found. He had to hire himself out to feed pigs. A Jew feeding pigs. That is about as low as it gets. But here he is. At the bottom of the barrel, all because he thought money could buy him happiness.

Money can’t fill that whole in our heart. It didn’t for this young man. It won’t for you either. So don’t put your hope and trust in the wealth of the world. Instead, put your trust in the Lord. He is the only One who will ultimately satisfy.

Please God, not man!

In today’s world, cancel culture is alive and well, which makes it is easy, and even necessary at times, to slip into a people pleasing mindset. If you get on someone’s bad side or go against a cause they are championing, you might find yourself the victim of repeated attacks that are meant to ruin your life and career. I don’t know anyone who wants their life and career ruined. We generally want our life to improve not spiral out of control. We are creatures who desire comfort, peace, and security, not the opposite. So many tow the line even if they disagree in an effort to please those around them.

For all the talk of being genuine, people pleasing is about as far from it as you can get. We might make it seem like we are championing a cause because we care so much about it but all we are really doing is looking out for our own self-interest. At our core, we are selfish people who want to travel the smoothest road through life.

The broad, smooth road, however, can easily turn into a bumpy, pothole filled road that will destroy our comfortable ride in a matter of moments. We can’t please everyone no matter how hard we try. Even if we are successful for a time, trying to please one group at one cultural moment, might result in us offending another in a future cultural moment. This is why so many who want to stay in the good gracies of the culture “evolve” every so often.

But the apostle Paul makes it clear in today’s passage that if we are going to be a servant of Christ, we must purpose to please Him and only Him.

Look at Galatians 1:10

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Paul draws a hard line in the sand. His life’s focus is to please one person and one person only. His life is focused on pleasing Jesus Christ, who is the only person that matters. Culture changes, people change, opinions of what is right and wrong change (sometimes daily), but Jesus and what He stands for never changes. What pleased God thousands of years ago will still please Him thousands of years from now.

As our Creator and Savior, pleasing Jesus is the only thing that matters. His opinion of us is the only one that holds any weight. A relationship with Him is the only one that will provide that for which we are looking — peace, comfort, and security.

Stop toiling to please the world. Unhinge yourself from the heavy burden you are carrying. Turn to Christ! His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Please God, not man!

Christian, you can, must, and will endure!

If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” 

(Rev 13:10)

No one is promised an easy life. Especially those who live contrary to the world system. 

In the middle section of the book of the Revelation John sees a vision of two beasts. The first beast was allowed by God to make war on the saints and to conquer them (Rev 13:7). Not only is the beast able to conquer the saints but all who dwell on the earth end up worshipping the beast. Everyone except the saints “whose names [have] been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Reve 13:8). 

True Christians cannot and will not be conquered. 

Their allegiance to King Jesus cannot be changed. They have and will continue to follow Him, even as two beast are terrorizing the world. 

A Christians assurance of eternal life with King Jesus is guaranteed but a comfortable life and escaping death in Jesus’ name is not. Those who have been destined for captivity and death will face captivity and death (Rev. 13:10)

Where is the comfort? 

The comfort comes in knowing our names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world. The comfort comes in knowing God is not only a sovereign God but a providential God. In other words, His sovereignty is purposeful and His purposes are not and cannot be hindered. Though we might be taken captive or slain, we continue to trust in the providence of God. In His purposes and will along with His ability to bring His purpose to pass. 

Knowing who our God is, what He capable of doing, and what we could possibly face, we are called to endure (Rev 13:10b). To remain steadfast in the face of whatever may come our way in the future. That is not an easy proposition because the future is unknown to us. But it is what we are called to do by the Lord God. 

We can endure! We must endure! We will endure!

You are a theologian, be a good one.

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

(Heb 5:14)

You are a theologian. You may not believe yourself to be a theologian but you are one. You have an opinion about God. You believe He does and doesn’t operate in one way or another. You even tell others what you believe about God from time to time. Your belief causes you to act in a certain way. You are a theologian. 

You may not be a very good theologian, but you are one. As Christians, we should want to be good theologians. Our understanding of God should be accurate. The only way we will have an accurate understanding of God is if we are in a constant state of growth. 

When we come to faith in Christ, we have ideas about God. But those ideas need to be adjusted and shaped. Our wrong thoughts about God need to be replaced with right thoughts about Him. As well as what we don’t know needs to be sured up. 

Sadly, many Christians don’t grow in their knowledge of God. They are happy to exist with the knowledge they already possessed. Or they are happy to remain in an immature state. But remaining immature like little babes is not a mark of a good theologian. It doesn’t benefit us nor does it benefit those with whom we live in community. In the previous verse, the writer chastises those who are immature when he says, 

“for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.

(Heb 5:13)

Those who are immature are unskilled. They are not able to handle the Word of God rightly, which leaves them vulnerable, unable to “distinguish good from evil.” (Heb 5:14b) and unable to accurately communicate who God is, and how they and others should live in light of who God is. 

Immaturity in the faith is not a badge of honor. It opens you and others up for harm. You are a theologian, be a good one.

Sin is deceitful. We need one another.

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb 3:13)

We need one another. Not just to help with physical matters, but to help us grow spiritually. Sin can be deceitful. It can trick us into believing that our thoughts and actions are right and good when in reality they are sinful. We need others who are willing to speak into our life to point out our wrong thinking and wrong doing.

Spiritual growth occurs in community. If we are not in community with other believers, we hinder our own spiritual growth. As believers we should want to grow to be more like Christ. He is the One who has provided us with salvation after all. He is the One who provides us with rest.

If you are not prioritizing Christian community, you need to make it a point to do so. You need to plug in with a solid Bible believing, gospel-centered church in your area and begin fostering community.

Sin is deceitful. We need one another.

We don’t have a pretty past, praise God for our present

“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5)

We do not have a pretty past. Before Paul pens these words he paints a picture of us. Telling us we were foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to all kinds of passions and pleasures. If that wasn’t bad enough, we learn we were full of malice, envy, and hate for one another. The picture of our past is not pretty.

It is important we understand who we once were. If we forget, we might believe we were worth saving. That it was our righteousness that wooed God into giving himself for us. But then again those who are righteous don’t need saving. Those, however, who are unrighteous do — that’s you and me. We are unrighteous people who need the righteousness of Jesus. We need to be changed, to be washed, to be renewed, to be regenerated. We need saving, not because we are righteous but because we are unrighteous.

We have not gained salvation any other way and for any other reason than our God is a God of mercy who doesn’t give us what we deserve. When we think of salvation like that, we should be driven to worship and praise God for what He has done for us.