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How can we find meaning & happiness in life?

Where do people tend to search for meaning, significance and happiness in life? We tend to look for happiness in pleasure, people, power, prestige or possessions. The tragic truth is that many people spend their life pursuing meaning and happiness in wrong ways; and sadly, they spend most of their life in despair and even misery.

This was the challenge that Solomon experienced in his life. Solomon was a man who truly had it all. According to the Bible, he had more wealth than anyone in history. As King of Israel he had plenty of power. He had access to anything that might bring him pleasure. He was surrounded by adoring people, including 700 wives and 300 mistresses! Solomon had everything that most people think makes them happy.

Yet Solomon declared that life was “meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). But thankfully, along the way, Solomon took good notes for us to learn from, having written much of the book of Proverbs and the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. God uses Solomon’s story to help us know what brings meaning and happiness in life… and, what doesn’t!

Maybe you or someone close to you is miserable because you have been pursuing what you thought would bring you happiness. You’re happy for a season, then it fades until you can find the next fix, the next adrenaline producer, or the next joy maker. But you keep ending up back in the same, sad place.

Great news! When you get to that frustrating, miserable place in life, things can begin to change for you! God can begin to move and stir in your life to take you where He wants you to go, to make you into the person He longs for you to be, to discover the enduring happiness that has eluded you. That is not to say your life will be perfect, after all, this is earth not heaven; but when you find yourself unfulfilled, frustrated and discontent, you are at a place in life where God can begin to truly transform you!

In Solomon’s story, we learn a number of vital life lessons. I can think of at least four:

Lesson #1 - When given the chance to ask God for anything, pray specifically for wisdom and discernment! (1 Kings 3:5-9). When God gave Solomon the chance to ask for anything, Solomon prayed for wisdom and discernment. How often do you ask God for wisdom and discernment in your life? Do you think you could use wisdom? Sure you could! Wisdom is a precious commodity, desperately needed in a crazy world, filled to the brim with foolishness and folly. The truth is, we are all desperate for wisdom! (Proverbs 1:7).

Lesson #2 - When we pray for wisdom and discernment, it pleases God! (1 Kings 3:10-15). God was delighted that Solomon didn’t ask for something that simply benefited himself - like long life, wealth, or death of his enemies. So, in addition to wisdom, God blessed Solomon with much more. If you want to please God, don’t just ask for things that benefit you, pray for wisdom. (James 1:5; Proverbs 3:13).

Despite the fact that Solomon had so much going for him - abundant wisdom, world-wide fame and extraordinary wealth - along the way, something went terribly wrong for him; he lost his way. Instead of putting God first in His life, he chose to pursue what he thought was the “good” life. (Ecclesiastes 2:1,3). Solomon abandoned wisdom and began to pursue folly.

Lesson #3 - We will never find significance and meaning in anything apart from God. Yet many people foolishly believe that the “good” life comes not with God, but apart from God. In the end, we will discover that nothing apart from God really matters. When Solomon contemplated all he had accomplished and experienced in his life, he came to a profound conclusion… “All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11,17)

I read somewhere that Solomon climbed the ladder of success only to discover when he reached the top that it was leaning against the wrong wall! If you walk through life pursuing meaning and significance apart from God, you will be sorely disappointed; Solomon proved that.

How did Solomon get so far off track and what can we learn from his journey? Lesson #4 - Disobedience causes us to veer far from God, resulting in despair. (1 Kings 11:1-2) Solomon sought pleasure over obedience, wrongly believing that would make him happy. And sadly, he allowed his heart to turn from from God. (1 Kings 11:4) Solomon tried to have the best of both worlds - obedience and folly. But sadly, his heart was divided and his relationship with God destroyed. Somewhere along the line, Solomon stopped pursuing God above all else. (Matthew 6:33). Solomon’s pursuit of other things cost him the happiness he longed for in life. (Matthew 6:24).

What are you pursuing in life? What do you desire most? Do you want to find true meaning and lasting joy? How can we find meaning and happiness in life?

  • Pray for wisdom and discernment!

  • Please God by seeking the wisdom He offers in His Word.

  • Stop searching for significance and meaning apart from God.

  • Stay near to God by striving to honor and obey Him in every area of life.

  • Surrender your life to Jesus as Savior and Lord!

For much more, click here to listen to Heroes: Part 8 - Solomon. Don’t forget about our Churchwide Picnic and Baptism coming up on Sunday, August 15 at 5:00 pm at the lakefront home of Al and Lynda Ramirez. (See more info below). Reach out to me if you would like more info about baptism. Also, check out the details about Watermark Wednesdays launching September 8!

‘Hope to see you Sunday for worship… Many blessings,

Pastor Joel


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