We must remember that happiness is not a state that can be achieved with a condition. It does not exclusively belong to the future. Our capacity to satisfy our longings and desire for more is not found in external objects and future-oriented circumstances but in the here and now and in the things of God.
Distinguishing a Need from a Want
Needs are necessary for survival, while wants are add-ons; wants, however, may be appropriate for us to attain so that we can live the abundance that God promised. The key to making the distinction between a need and a want.
Consider the following needs: food, hydration, sleep, and clothing.iv These are needs. However, it becomes sinful when we have too much of them because we begin operating on a want. We then begin to satisfy our cravings not according to our needs but according to our greed. Hence, the passion for food becomes gluttony, the need for hydration can result in intoxication, the need for sleep can become laziness, and acquiring clothing and other possessions can become an act of hoarding.
Satisfaction in the here and now
Various research studies have been conducted in the last several years, looking into the variables contributing to a person’s satisfaction. While it is true that income and material possessions correlate with individual positive life satisfaction, people from lower-income families with ill-health and even very few intimate relationships have been seen to possess high life satisfaction.
The Bible gives us a glimpse of how to find satisfaction despite untoward circumstances:
Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord.”
Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven….”
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