Why Possessions Won't Make You Happy
How to feed your soul and get eternal satisfaction
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Every time I read this verse, it makes my heart ache for people who I know that seem to have lost their way in life. It is like they start to go somewhere, but when they get on the road, they realize that they have no idea where they are or how to get to where they want to go.
“Daddy, I think we are lost. What do we do?”
After my daughter was married, she and her husband were going on their honeymoon, but early on they realized that they had gotten lost. Unfortunately, they had missed a very critical turn and were headed in the opposite direction of where they should have been going. She called me, explained her dilemma and asked me what they should do. My simple advice was “Make a u-turn as soon as possible.” That is also my advice for people who are walking around aimlessly with no real purpose in life.
How can I know if I am headed in the wrong direction?
A simple way to find out if you are headed in the right direction is to ask yourself this question: Which world am I living for? Am I living for the present world and all that I can get from it, or am I living for the future world to come and all that I can give to it?
Jesus fully understood this issue and told his disciples that a man’s spiritual life was much more important than his physical life. He said that a man can have everything this world offers – all the money, toys and fame – but he will lose everything if he loses his soul.
Think of it this way: if a man can choose between eternity with Christ and a very short lifetime having all that he wants, the choice should be simple. The Bible says that our life is just a vapor in time. That is why it is so important for us to understand that we are created by God and for God’s purposes to be fulfilled in our lives. Nothing will satisfy us more than being rightly related to Jesus Christ and knowing that what will really fulfill our lives is not found in what he possesses, but in who he knows.
Is there an example of this in the Bible?
King Solomon describes this problem quite extensively in the Book of Ecclesiastes. In that book, he describes his great riches and how he dedicated his life to building things – gardens, homes, and whatever else he wanted. However, it did not take him long to discover that these “things” had no power to satisfy and fulfill his life. At the end of his life, he said that all of his pursuits to fill his life with what this world had to offer only left him empty, or what he described as “vanity.”
What is 'vanity,' and what does it mean?
Vanity means empty, meaningless, without purpose or worthless. Those who live for vanity spend their entire lives doing things that will have no eternal value. As seen in the example above, anything that Solomon enjoyed was very short lived. The problem was that he had the wrong purpose for his life. He was investing his life in that which had no eternal value and a very short-lived present value.
Have you ever really wanted something, but when you got it, it lost its appeal and novelty and you started looking for something new and exciting again? That is exactly what happened to Solomon. He could have whatever he wanted, but when he got it, he realized that it did not satisfy him like he thought that it would.
How do you begin to find God’s purpose for your life?
The first step to finding purpose is believing in the God of the Bible in a saving way through faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. The next step is to follow Jesus’ commands. Jesus made this remarkable statement about how to really enjoy His purpose for our lives: “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” (Luke 17:33) What a precious truth – the more that we give our life away for Christ and for others, the more we find it.
Pray this week:
Father, will you please help me to learn how to give my life away so that I can fulfill your eternal purpose for my life? Help me to understand that your ways are not my ways, and the more that I yield myself to you, the more of your life I experience.
If you could have the whole world and all that is in it, would you take it?