Introduction: Happiness is a complex topic. So much of the Christian
life sounds like the opposite of happiness. We talk about self-denial
and self-sacrifice. We speak about taking up “our cross.” Yet, as I
look around at my fellow Christians(and look at myself), we don’t seem
all that unselfish. I see people who have better “things” than I do
and I think “I would like to have things like that.” Is “stuff” the
key to happiness? Is renouncing “things” the path to joy? Are
Christians missing out on happiness because they have so many things?
Let’s dive into the Bible and discover God’s goals for us!

  1. God’s Goal and Money

    1. What is God’s goal for us? Is it to be poor? We point to
      Jesus as our example, and He was “homeless” (see Matthew

      1. No Christian I know chooses to be homeless. Are we
        just ignoring His example?

    2. Read John 10:9-10. When Jesus says that He wants His
      followers to “have life … to the full” is He talking about
      an abstract eternal life, or life here and now? (Whatever
      Jesus is referring to, according to Strong’s the Greek word
      translated “full” (perissos) means “superabundantly,”
      “excessively.” Note that Jesus begins these texts by
      speaking of eternal life.)

    3. Read Proverbs 15:6. Does this text refer to money and
      “stuff” in our life here and now? (Yes.)

      1. Is another concept also floating around in this verse?
        (Yes. Both the righteous and the wicked have money in
        this verse, but for the wicked money causes trouble.)

      2. Read Proverbs 10:22. What does this say about wealth
        and trouble? (It suggests that money by itself brings
        trouble. When God blesses us with money, He leaves
        the trouble behind.)

    4. Read Proverbs 11:28. What does this say about money and
      righteousness? (One of the problems with money is trusting
      it for our future. The righteous person, who trusts in God
      and not money, has a “green leaf” future!)

    5. Read 1 Samuel 2:7. Is money referred to in a positive or
      negative way? (Poverty seems to humble us and wealth exalts

      1. Who is behind this humility and exultation? (God.)

      2. Which makes you more happy – to be humbled or exalted?

    1. Read Isaiah 5:8. What does this suggest about being wealthy?
      (That you are alone!)

    2. Read Mark 4:18-19. What does this say about wealth and God’s
      word? (That the “deceitfulness” of wealth “chokes” the

    3. Let’s stop and ponder what we have read. We have looked at
      texts from both the Old and New Testaments. Normally, we
      tend to equate a “superabundant” life, and “excessive” life
      with money. But, what overall lesson do these texts teach us
      about money and having a good and righteous life? (Money is
      a tricky thing. It can bring problems – indeed it often
      does. Only a combination of righteousness and wealth make
      life better.)

      1. What would you say is God’s goal for us when it comes
        to money? Will God give us money so that we will be

      2. If we say that God will bless us with money, should we
        be righteous as a means to become wealthy? (Read 1
        Timothy 6:5. We will later explore the context of this
        text, but this clearly says that only a “corrupt mind”
        “robbed of the truth” thinks “godliness is a means to
        financial gain.”)

    4. We have looked at what the Bible says about the abundant
      life and money. Do things lead to happiness? Let’s explore
      that next.

  1. The Happy Life

    1. Read 1 Timothy 6:3-5. What words do you see in this text
      that are not what come to mind when you think of being

      1. What seems to be the source of this unhappiness?
        (Conceited people who do not have God’s truth.)

    2. Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10. How can we avoid grief? (Godliness
      with contentment.)

      1. If we link the idea of happiness with wealth, what is
        the problem with wanting to become rich? (The Bible is
        plain that a desire for money is a dangerous path that
        can easily plunge us into ruin and destruction.)

    3. Money does not seem to be the path to happiness. Let’s look
      at some texts that suggest a positive route to happiness.
      Read Psalms 133:1. What is one source of happiness among
      those who follow God? (Unity.)

    4. Read Romans 15:13-14. What role does the Holy Spirit play in
      our happiness? (The Holy Spirit fills us with hope – and
      hope gives us joy and peace.)

      1. What are we hoping for? (The entire chapter speaks of
        hope. But, this specific text says that we are
        trusting in God. The logical conclusion is that if
        things are not well, we are hoping that things will
        get better in our life. If things are going well, we
        trust in God for the future. The Holy Spirit gives us
        the power to have that kind of hope. And hope fills us
        with joy and peace.)

    5. Read Galatians 5:22-25. How many of the words found in this
      text would you connect with happiness?

      1. What is the source of this happiness? (Having the Holy
        Spirit in our life.)

    6. Read Philippians 4:4-7. If someone tells you to “rejoice,”
      or “be happy,” does that do it? What is at the bottom of the
      statement “rejoice in the Lord always?” (Trusting God. We
      present our prayers and petitions to Him, and if we trust
      Him, peace will enter our hearts.)

      1. Is this peace logical? (No! The text says it
        “transcends all understanding.” God can do the
        impossible. We just need to trust in Him.)

    7. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Again, we have a text that tells us
      to “be joyful.” What does this text suggest is the way to
      joy? (Be grateful to God. Be in contact with God through
      prayer. If you are constantly thanking God for His blessings
      to you, it lifts your spirit.)

    8. Read Luke 12:15. Think of all of the texts that we have read
      and studied in this lesson. What assumptions did we start
      with about happiness? (That happiness had to do with wealth
      and possessions.)

      1. What have we learned is the true source of happiness
        and joy? (A relationship with God. Life does not
        consist of what we own. A Spirit-filled life is the
        path to joy!)

    9. Friend, do you want happiness and joy in your life? The path
      to happiness is not wealth, but rather a relationship with
      God. Will you invite the Holy Spirit into your life right
      now to begin to walk the path to peace, trust and joy?

  2. Next week: Daily Wisdom.