The Christian Doctrine of Finding True Happiness

The Christian Doctrine of Finding True Happiness

By Jun P. Espina | Last updated on November 19th, 2019 at 11:58 am

CHAPTER 5: OF FINDING TRUE HAPPINESS

christian teachings revisitedThe LORD . . . makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it . . . For I know the plans that I have for you . . . plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. — Proverbs 10:22; Jeremiah 29:11.

BRIEF SUMMARY

We need to understand that holiness is not all praying and the witness of your empty pocket. Barnabas sold his land and gave the money to the first church. Money is indispensable to run a Christian ministry. Second, what is the role of money in running your family? I don’t support the so-called “Prosperity Gospel,” but let us admit that God has provided first the needs of Adam even before creating him. Why did Christ challenge us to “ask whatever you wish” if He enjoys seeing our poverty? This chapter punctuates on the need for the born-again Christians to work hard and live a balanced life in both the spiritual and financial spheres. From there we can find true happiness as we glorify Jesus Christ above all. Most Buddhist monks desire to follow the path of destitution and with it pursue the philosophy of begging for survival. Christianity is different, for Christ taught that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

The Bible says we can be both prosperous and blissful. For “[it] is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.” (Prov. 10:22) The poor-but-happy fagged locution is not an excellent guiding principle of life! Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” said “[the] lack of money is the root of all evil.” 1

We need to have a little financial education, Kiyosaki insisted. “Both the school and church institutions,” he added, “seem to equate riches to cruelty, criminality and all forms of abusive and inhuman character.”

In our study, we find that people’s bad impression of the rich few is all wrong. Moneyed people have gained riches because their thousands of employees and business partners trusted them. They are men of their words.

We want to prove in this paper that God wants Christ’s followers to be well-to-do, felicitous, and peaceful in this life! Many cannot agree with the statement that God guarantees a financial outpouring, for the apostle Peter and the other disciples remained unprosperous, even after their conversion. Though the Scriptures supports a financial success, not all have succeeded in their lifetime.

Three quick reasons:

1. Accumulation of wealth involves taking the risk. Most people, however, wanted to just stay in their comfort zone and be mediocre—the employment-to-retirement turn of mind. God does not plunge into a business venture for you. You must do the risk-taking; God, the blessing. Start your stuff off even if you don’t have enough capital. All successful people started that way, and that is a skate on thin ice. But most Christians love just to pray and avoid the plunge indispensable while achieving something. Jacob got out of his comfort zone bravely and went away to a far country; then God blessed him from there;

2. All happened according to God’s will. God wills Abraham to be rich, and Lazarus, destitute, in Christ’s parable of the rich man turned “missionary” in hell. The bottom line is God’s glorification in your poverty (as with Lazarus) or in your riches (supporting the Lord’s work, for example);

3. A poverty or riches is more of a mindset or a mental blueprint. Billionaire Donald Trump “filed for corporate bankruptcy four times,” 2 yet he survived and became a billionaire again. You are poor because you think you are. Even Christ cannot help you with what you believe! “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he . . . Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Prov. 23:7; KJV; Gal. 6:7)

God has plans for our welfare, not for our calamity!

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’” (Jer. 29:11-13)

Christ once said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) Yes, we can be both well-off and happy. Our peace and abundance as believers glorify Christ. He’s not glorified if we live in pain and hunger for life. Who would say we’ve a dead god if we look like angels because we’ve food on our table; have time to groom ourselves and money in our pockets?

The Problem with Most Affluent People
The problem with most wealthy people starts when money becomes their god—their ultimate source of power and protection. Most of them live life in turmoil and confusion.

Christina Onassis, daughter of the erstwhile Bill Gates in the shipping industry, Aristotle Onassis, died at age 37 “of a heart attack caused by acute pulmonary edema . . . had four marriages, each ending in divorce.” 3 Her brother Alexander died in a plane crash in 1973, and her mother died of a drug overdose in 1974. Athina Roussel, Christina’s only child, inherited the Onassis fortune. It was how riches could be deadly. But it was more of Christina’s weakness, rather than her money’s overpowering strength!

Howard Hughes, “the billionaire aviator, motion-picture producer and business tycoon—spent most of his life trying to avoid germs. Toward the end of his life, he lay naked in bed in darkened hotel rooms in what he considered a germ-free zone. He wore tissue boxes on his feet to protect them. And he burned his clothing if someone near him became ill.” 4 Germ phobia was Hughes’ problem that had prompted him to wage a war on terror of the bad bacteria! It could be a billion-dollar-enhanced psychosis! Had he been poor, Hughes would have had set his mind on his basic needs, rather than wasting his time with germaphobia.

God said He would add no sorrows to your wealth only if you would believe it as God’s plentiful supply. “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.” Real happiness retreats without faith that God owns everything. Christina Onassis died just like an ordinary person; she stopped breathing, and although she was rich, her millions denied her a single breath. She died with a death that came to her doors like a thief stealing a life—with no best hospital care (or even just an ambulance service) that money can buy.

It is not Wrong to be Moneyed
It’s not a good idea to attack riches when we’ve never been in that world yet. God wants us to live like God’s children for we are. He wishes our peace in this life. Adam and Eve were created with the entire world for their source of livelihood. They were not created to starve. If you’re a preacher or teacher, for example, how can you teach that wealth is evil when you don’t have it? In an aircraft high above the ground, for instance, the earth is blue, but at close distance, it is a verdant green. Never dignify the Lazarus poverty, except for a sweet lemon—never smirch the God-given wealth of Jacob!

We do not judge the folly of wealth because of Christina Onassis. Donald Trump did not waste his money like Howard Hughes.
Have you noticed those lawmakers who are anti-business? Why are they like that? Simple—they don’t have a business of their own! Or have you noticed a pro-employee labor law because the guys who drafted it were employees all their lives and have never had an employee in their lifetime?

The wealth of Christina Onassis gave her so much pain, but the riches of Abraham, Isaac, and Job, so much peace and joy. They praised God’s goodness the whole time. “It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.” Be it riches or poverty, there’s always joy and peace if it glorifies God. He yearns for our happiness as God of love. Having money in our pockets pleases Him just like seeing our children adequately supplied. When Peter and the other disciples went fishing without a catch all night the risen Jesus gave them 153 large fish, not just “memory verses” we used to give to people in need. (cf. John 21:1-11)

Money is not evil. The godless person who owns it is maligning its good reputation as the highway to a decent life.

The Problem with Most Preachers
Many Bible students are not at home with the so-called “prosperity Gospel.” I am one. I am against the doctrine. Why? Because the Bible does not teach us to “love this world” (1 John 2:15) or to “desire to be rich” serving two masters. (cf. Matt. 6:24)

Here’s a good observation by “Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers” on 1 Timothy 6:9 which states: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (ESV). Here is Ellicott’s view: “Those who exposed themselves to the winning temptations and deadly sins he [Paul] was about to speak of were not ‘the rich,’ but those who longingly plan to be rich.” 5

A born-again Christian has only one main aim in this life, and that is to walk closely with Christ and to give Him honor and glory.

But, taking everything in mind, God wants us to plan out things, for us to be prosperous. “Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” (Prov. 16:3) God is not against our plans to reach a high level of success!

The problem with most “prosperity” preachers is their insinuation to form a vast appetite for riches. The will and determination to be rich at all cost is very wrong and unchristian. Your constant prayer, however, for blessings and prosperity according to God’s will is neither unscriptural nor offensive to our faith.

We can be both rich and happy in the hands of God. John prayed for the physical, spiritual, and financial prosperity of “beloved Gaius.” (See: 3 John 1:2.) What about the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10?

Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

True, the plan of God is not to make Christ’s followers “holy beggars.” In Matthew 6:33, Christ Himself taught that if you seek Him and His righteousness, then “all these things will be added to you.” He also said it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

Did you know I became a Christian because of one mission work in our city which a church from the U.S. funded? They gave my first standard-size Bible. Money is indispensable in spreading Christianity to the world. God used rich Christians to purchase and give-away Bibles, build churches, and pay pastors and missionaries.

Christ Himself used the services of one doctor Luke; of one rich man Matthew; of Joseph of Arimathea; the lawyer Paul and the owner of the Upper Room. He was also frequenting with one well-to-do family known as “Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.”

We find the following verse in Psalm 81:10 helpful: “I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” Yes, a Christian can be both rich and happy. Just “open your mouth wide” — wide with big prayers!

Commenting on Deuteronomy 8:10-14, one writer said, “Notice that when they increased, and their gold and silver multiplied, they would tend to forget God.” If you are a born-again Christian, do you agree that your tendency is to replace Christ with your money? If so, the possibility is that the Bible lied, or you feigned true Christianity. Christ said, “no one can snatch you out of my hand.” Money cannot snatch you out of Christ’s hand.

During my study about honest riches and the Scriptures, I came across with the following quote from T. Harv Eker’s book:

“In their outstanding book The One Minute Millionaire, my good friends Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen quote the poignant story of Russell H. Conwell in his book, Acres of Diamonds, which was written over a hundred years ago:

‘I say that you ought to get rich, and it is your duty to get rich. How many of my pious brethren say to me, “Do you, a Christian minister, spend your time going up and down the country advising young people to get rich, to get money?” Yes, of course, I do.

‘They say, “Isn’t that awful! Why don’t you preach the gospel instead of preaching about man’s making money?” Because to make money honestly is to preach the gospel. That is the reason. The men who get rich may be the most honest men you find in the community.

‘“Oh,” but says some young man here tonight, “I have been told all my life that if a person has money he is very dishonest and dishonourable and mean and contemptible.” My friend, that is the reason you have none, because you have that idea of people. The foundation of your faith is altogether false. Let me say clearly . . . ninety-eight out of one hundred of the rich men (and women) of America are honest. That is why they are rich. That is why they are trusted with money. That is why they carry on great enterprises and find plenty of people to work with them.

‘Says another young man, “I hear sometimes of men that get millions of dollars dishonestly.” Yes, of course you do, and so do I. But they are so rare a thing in fact that the newspapers talk about them all the time as a matter of news until you get the idea that all the other rich men got rich dishonestly.

‘My friend, you . . . drive me . . . out into the suburbs of Philadelphia, and introduce me to the people who own their homes around this great city, so beautiful homes with gardens and flowers, those magnificent homes so lovely in their art, and I will introduce you to the very best people in character as well as in enterprise in our city . . . They that own their homes are made more honourable and honest and pure, and true and economical and careful, by owning them.

‘We preach against covetousness . . . in the pulpit . . . and use the terms . . . “filthy lucre” so extremely that Christians get their idea that . . . it is wicked for any man to have money. Money is power, and you ought to be reasonably ambitious to have it! You ought because you can do more good with it than you can without it. Money printed your Bibles, money builds your churches, money sends your missionaries, and money pays your preachers . . . I say then, you ought to have money. If you can honestly attain unto riches . . . it is your . . . godly duty to do so. It is an awful mistake of these pious people to think you must be awfully poor in order to be pious.’” 6

Whatever You Wish
Rich people don’t work for money. They are different, for their money works for them. As a Christian, your passion is to serve our Lord Jesus. There is joy and happiness. “And, lo, I am with you alway,” Christ’s promise to the obedient ones. If you have money as a believer, your passion would be the same: to serve Jesus, but this time, by using your most obedient slave, your money. It works for you—it is your powerful servant! You can use your money to help build a church, to buy Bibles, or to send missionaries—to quote Russell H. Conwell again.

There was one pastor thoughtless with his retirement age. He believed his members would provide for him forever. But then he was seriously hospitalized, and his church didn’t have enough resources to cover all his medical bills. It is an illustration of an utter financial insecurity as we grow old and become very susceptible to all forms of life-threatening health issues. Someone has well said this: “I had been poor, and now am rich, and rich is better.”

Christina Onassis was so unhappy, not because she was poor, but because her vast wealth could not buy her happiness. She needed the God of the Holy Scriptures. A poor Christian is happier than Onassis, for there is peace and joy in believing. God gave Abraham, Jacob, Job and to the multitude of believers, riches, for He knows it is a far different matter to have both faith and money. “Ask whatever you wish.” Christ used the word whatever. Make no mistake. Our Lord says whatever, and He meant it—whatever you wish; whatever is in keeping with His will! ∞

NOTES

[1] Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad (Plata Publishing, LLC., Scottsdale, AZ, 1997), p. 2.
[2] forbes.com. http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2011/04/29/fourth-times-a-charm-how-donald-trump-made-bankruptcy-work-for-him/ (accessed October 30,2019).
[3] en.wikipedia.org. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Onassis (accessed October 30, 2019).
[4] apa.org. http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug05/hughes.aspx (accessed October 30, 2019).
[5] biblehub.com. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_timothy/6-9.htm (accessed October 30, 2019).
[6] T. Harv Eker, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (HARPER, HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, New York, 2005), pp. 89-90.

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