Is wealth or "fun" the way to genuine success and happiness? What way of life will the entire world be learning—SOON?
This world is filled with untold millions of unhappy, frustrated people. Even in our modern Western world, most people's lives are pretty empty. Something is lacking. And, notably, the suicide rate is nearly always the highest among those with a college education—or even with advanced degrees, though they are the ones you might expect would know the most about "success." Today, educated people are taught about many subjects—and especially about how to make money. But they are often miserable!
The answer is that very few people even begin to understand the real purpose of life. So they drift aimlessly through life, often feeling that somehow the accumulation of more material possessions will make them happy. In their churches they are taught that, after death, they will float off to heaven with nothing to do. Yet few are eager to "enjoy" this supposed heavenly reward! Since God, heaven and eternal life all seem very "unreal" to them, most people are content to "slog along" in this physical existence, without a deep sense of happiness or fulfillment. For they do not truly know God and the magnificent purpose He is working out here on earth. And they certainly do not know the laws of life that, if followed, would make them genuinely happy.
Are there, in fact, "laws of life" that ensure happiness? Has our Creator revealed an entire way of life that will soon bring true peace and joy to the entire world?
Yes, He has! There is such a way! But because a very real Satan the Devil has blinded mankind from knowing the truth (Revelation 12:9), very few people grasp this fact. Even most professing Christian ministers emphatically reject this "way" because they, too, are blinded by Satan—and are taught an entirely different way of life in the colleges and seminaries where they prepare for the ministry.
Jesus Christ was the "light" whom God sent into the world. He clearly revealed a way of life that, if universally practiced, would bring mankind national peace, inner peace—and personal happiness and fulfillment—far beyond anything most of mankind has ever experienced. Jesus said: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Scholars tell us that the Greek word translated as "abundantly" in this passage means exactly what it says. It is not referring primarily to eternal life, but rather to a full, rich life here and now. How, then, can we attain the full, rich life that God intends for us?
First, we should all understand that the writers of the Bible—inspired by God—do not dwell on "having fun" in the way that many today are accustomed. Rather, the true Jesus Christ of the Bible, like all His servants, teaches us about a fullness of life—based on obedience and service—that brings about a sense of fulfillment and inner peace far richer than the "fun" that is often in vogue today. God's idea of abundant life is long-lasting, unlike the "fun" that disappears after leading to premature pregnancy, drug addiction or even time spent in prison. That is reality. Short-sighted "fun" is not the kind of "abundant" life the Bible talks about.
We need to realize that the Bible, in fact, reveals the very mind of God. It reveals our Creator's will on all the vital issues of life. We should learn to read and study the Bible with this thought in mind—and should try to "drink in" the thoughts and attitudes that God is trying to convey to us through His inspired Word. Then, understanding His purpose, we will have a depth of fulfillment and happiness beyond that of the "Average Joe" running around pursuing "fun, fun, fun."
When a young man came seeking the way to eternal life, Jesus told him: "If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17). Then Jesus began to name some of the Ten Commandments. Throughout the Bible, God reveals to us, if we are willing to listen, that this great spiritual law—the Ten Commandments—is the basis of God's character and His very way of life! It is a way that will bring world peace, inner peace and ultimate fulfillment far beyond what most sociologists, philosophers and psychologists are able to teach us. After clearly describing the Ten Command-ments and telling us that we should "keep the whole law," the Apostle James instructs true Christians: "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, 'Do not commit adultery,' also said, 'Do not murder.' Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty" (James 2:10–12).
Frankly, if the Ten Commandments were truly obeyed as a way of life all over the earth—in spirit as well as in letter—the joy and fulfillment of life would be wonderful. The "liberty" all mankind would enjoy would include freedom from wars and starvation, freedom from the agony of envy, hate, resentment and bitterness; hence freedom from loveless marriages, the agony of divorce and the emptiness of millions of young people being reared by one parent—or sometimes no parent! The list goes on and on.
The Ten Commandments tell us not to have any god before the true God, the Creator. In that way, they focus our mind on the Creator as the central fact of our existence. Once we learn and practice this attitude and approach to life, a sense of purpose enters our mind and heart, and an inner peace slowly comes over us to the degree that we follow what our Creator tells us to do! For God's way works!
Focusing on our Creator and His purpose also gives us a sense of vision and purpose for our own lives. God reveals to us: "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Proverbs 29:18, KJV). A sense of "vision" does impart a goal and a sense of purpose to our lives, and God's Word tells us right in this verse that one who keeps His law is "happy." It is interesting that obedience to the Ten Commandments is taught in direct connection with God's vision and purpose for humanity! Keeping God's law does bring an inner peace, and does make one happy in that very important way.
As God revealed His law to Moses, He instructed: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work" (Exodus 20:8). So part of the Sabbath command is that we are to be busy—we are to learn to accomplish! If we do our work diligently, God promises to bless us. Scripture reveals: "He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich" (Proverbs 10:4). So our Creator does want us to work and to be "diligent" as we accomplish the activities of our job or profession. This sense of accomplishment, of course, then helps us have a sense of fulfillment—and makes our physical existence here on earth more comfortable and enjoyable.
God tells us that if we will truly seek God and learn to live by His laws, He will bless us in many ways. The Bible is consistent about this. For instance, notice these promises given to Israel: "Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God: 'Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks'" (Deuteronomy 28:1–4).
"Well," some might say, "that sounds fine as a theory. But is there any evidence that things ever really worked out that way? Is there any evidence that commandment-keeping genuinely produced peace, prosperity and happiness in an entire nation?"
Yes! There is such evidence! After the death of King David—who had to battle long and hard to bring all twelve tribes of Israel together—his son Solomon was able to carry on as king and rule the organized nation. At first, before he was turned aside by having too many wives, Solomon did rule God's way. The entire nation was enormously blessed! Notice this brief description of Israel under Solomon's reign: "Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. So Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life…. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon" (1 Kings 4:20–21, 25).
So, for one of the rare times in history, an entire nation was living in peace—"eating, drinking and rejoicing"—under Solomon's righteous reign.
When the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, she was literally overwhelmed by the wisdom God had given him, and by the blessings his wisdom brought on his entire nation. She said: "It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!" (2 Chronicles 9:5–7).
In the not-too-distant future, in Tomorrow's World—during Jesus Christ's millennial reign on earth—these same blessings will occur. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to tell us: "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore" (Isaiah 2:2–4).
This same basic prophecy is repeated in Micah, with this additional thought: "But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken" (Micah 4:4). Here, it is made plain that each individual will have his own property. All will be so blessed. This will not be communism, but a society built on a Christian economy—and on the family structure revealed in God's Word!
For a thousand years, there will be a depth of peace and joy permeating the earth beyond anything ever experienced! As the above scriptures clearly reveal, this will all be based on God's spiritual law—the Ten Commandments! This great law, which tells us how to love God and how to love our neighbor, will be the foundational underpinning of the entire way of life at that time. All true Christians must learn to follow that way right now—in this life: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12).
As the millennium begins, and modern Israel and Judah are brought back from slavery and begin to learn God's way, they will be blessed beyond measure. Coming out of the Great Tribulation, they will have an even greater sense of intense rejoicing and appreciation for God's way. Describing that time, our Creator tells us: "Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs" (Isaiah 61:7).
Yes, indeed. There is a way we can have joy and abundant living—if we are willing to listen!
As noted earlier, people who just seek after more money and more "fun" do not find that either brings them genuine happiness or fulfillment. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, said: "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'" (Matthew 6:31). These, Jesus indicated, are the things after which people of this world seek. God will give us these things—according to our actual needs—if we seek Him and His way. But these must not be our main goal. For Jesus instructs us: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:33–34).
If our minds can truly be on the "things above" (Colossians 3:1)—God's righteousness and His coming Kingdom—and if we seek His righteousness and His way of loving, giving, helping and serving, then a deep sense of happiness and fulfillment will permeate our being in a way most of us have never experienced.
For the Apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders: "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'" (Acts 20:35).
Truly, we are enormously "blessed" if we learn to give of ourselves to others and to our Creator. When we practice genuine love and sincere outflowing concern, a great sense of inner peace and joy flows back to us.
All of the modern psychological treatises on "feeling good about yourself" will never, ever begin to impart the true sense of fulfillment that one can gain from trying to serve and give to our God and to others—not to just "get" and to "feel good" about ourselves!
True Christians who let Christ live His life within them through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20) will experience the profound joy and peace that this way of life brings. As the Apostle Paul instructed: "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4–7).
God truly wishes that we share in the type of love, outflowing concern and inner joy now experienced by the Father and the Word, Jesus Christ, as They practice that way of life. They have planned how that way of life will be offered to all humanity in Tomorrow's World. As we prepare for this genuine future—which God is now preparing and will soon bring to pass—let us be among the "overcomers" who truly obey our God and follow the way of life exemplified by Jesus Christ. That way will produce blessings not only in this life, but forever. If we fully surrender to let Christ live within us through the Holy Spirit, we will certainly be counted among God's "faithful." In the parable of the talents, God tells the faithful servant these wonderful words: "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." (Matthew 25:21).