I often let out a sigh of relief once I have finished tucking all of my kids into bed for the night. It usually turns into a 3-ring circus as I try to wrangle all three of them into bed myself. Whether it’s been a challenging or a good day, I still am relieved that its bedtime. Often, I jokingly text my husband that I need chocolate to make me happy after a trying day. (With owning a pharmacy, he works 13 hours day so I’m home managing the kids alone.) Is there anything more satisfying than enjoying chocolate in the still quiet after bedtime? I think not. Ahem.
But then it’s morning already, another day begins whether we are prepared for it or not. Typically that happiness that we felt the night before walks right out the front door as soon as the children start arguing first thing in the morning.
I need chocolate, we think to ourselves.
As amazing as chocolate is, it won’t ever be enough to satisfy our souls. We will always crave more.
As we begin our Bible study of the book Ecclesiastes, we are told 5 things that won’t bring us happiness either.
I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? Ecclesiastes 2:2
Everyone loves to laugh and enjoy a good joke. Most preachers even start off their messages with a quick joke to get everyone’s attention.
My husband has an amazing sense of humor. He is forever making me laugh so hard my sides hurt and will often have the entire auditorium laughing when he has the microphone.
In Proverbs, we are told that a merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Laughter is good for the soul.
But it will not change our lives by bringing us lasting happiness that our soul craves deep down.
I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. Ecclesiastes 2:3
I’m probably going to step on some toes here, but it’s in the Book. Alcohol is the downfall of so many great people.
The book of Proverbs is filled with so much instruction warning us to stay away from it.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Proverbs 20:1
Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Proverbs 23:29-32
The drunkard keeps going back to their drink because they want to feel happy again. They want to numb the pain in their lives and are using alcohol as a temporary relief.
You are setting yourself for destruction when you invite this habit into your life. Like everything else, the effects are only temporary.
I could go on about how alcohol affects people, their children and their homes because I grew up in a home with drug and alcohol abuse. I’ve witnessed firsthand how it will never satisfy that need for happiness.
I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: Ecclesiastes 2:4-6
Have you ever met someone who throws themselves into their work and let everything else in their lives fall by the wayside? Or maybe their home life is such a mess that they think that pouring themselves into their work will bring them happiness. Only it only causes them to drift more and more instead. Micheal Hyatt has a great article on this topic because he admits that he experienced this firsthand and can testify that overworking yourself won’t bring you happiness.
Maybe, you don’t work but you seek to fill your days with too many commitments. Are you always volunteering for every task, working yourself to the bone for other people? Doing so won’t bring happiness either. At the end of the day or at the end of that commitment, you still are going to find that it was all vanity as you seek the next opportunity.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? Ecclesiastes 1:2-3
I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: Ecclesiastes 2:7
How many of us got married expecting our spouse to fulfill our every need and make us happy? Truth is, they can’t. Too many of us learn that the hard way.
There are too many single people out there going from one failed relationship to the next because without a boyfriend or girlfriend they can’t be happy.
There is no person, on this planet who will bring us happiness.
I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: Ecclesiastes 2:8a
If only we were able to make more money, then we will be happy. Right?
If only we could have a bigger house or a nicer car, then surely we will be happier. Right?
If I get this promotion, I will be happy!
Aren’t we all guilty of thinking like that at one time or another? Instead of learning contentment, we long for more.
Money isn’t going to bring happiness.
While I like to think that a piece of chocolate will bring me happiness, the truth is is that it’s only temporary happiness. It will fade, just as the happiness of these 5 things will eventually fade away. Only when we are seeking the Lord wholeheartedly will we find that true happiness and joy that our soul craves and seeks for in all of the wrong places. The devil uses these traps in order to trick us into thinking that this temporary happiness will last a lifetime. But we are forewarned that they are all vanity, they’re all empty fruitless labor. When we give our hearts to the Lord’s will and choose daily to walk in His will instead of our own, it is then and only then that our soul will be satisfied.
Your turn! Are you seeking after any of these 5 temporary forms of happiness? What would you add to the list that maybe isn’t listed in Ecclesiastes?
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