Proverbs 3:13

Proverbs 3:13 "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."
Happiness may be humanity’s greatest desire.  Men and women have always been looking for that which will make them happy.  In many ways, our lives are spent pursuing happiness.  The majority of our decisions are made with happiness as the intended goal.  “The pursuit of happiness” was one of the reasons cited for our nation’s Declaration of Independence in 1776.  The pursuit of happiness is often the reason husbands and wives give when filing for divorce.  It is often the reason employees cite when quitting their job.  We do what we think will make us happy.  We eat certain foods because we think they will make us happy.  We buy certain products because we think they will make us happy.  We befriend certain people because we think they will make us happy.  We choose certain occupations and we chase certain dreams because we think they will make us happy.  Happiness may be humanity’s greatest desire and it is most definitely humanity’s greatest motivation.

According to the 2017 Harris Poll Survey of American Happiness, only 33% of Americans surveyed said they were happy.  What a sobering percentage given how hard we pursue happiness!  While it may be a sobering number, it isn’t a surprising number.  Given the places people are turning to for happiness, it’s not surprising that most people aren’t happy these days.  Given the things people are looking to for happiness, it’s not that shocking to learn that only a minority of people are experiencing happiness.

Unfortunately, a majority of people think a person will make us happy when in reality, even the best of people will at some point in our lives make us very unhappy.  All relationships experience disappointment, sorrow and hurt.  Happiness isn’t found in dumping one person in order to find a better person.  Many people think a job will make us happy when in reality, even the best of jobs will at some point in our careers make us very unhappy.  All occupations come with struggles.  All places of employment have their problems.  Jobs, employers, employees, co-workers and industries disappoint at some point in life.  Happiness isn’t found in a company or in a paycheck or in a line of work.  While few in our society would admit it, most in our society are pursuing happiness through purchasing.  We buy homes, vehicles, clothes, décor, equipment, devices, memberships, vacations and services because we think these things will make us happy.  At first, these purchases often bring a big spike in happiness but time reveals the reality that things don’t keep us happy.  Few purchases meet their expectations and all purchases lose their excitement.  Happiness can’t be purchased with cash, check or credit.

So few are happy in the world today because so few have found that which makes them happy.  So few have found that which makes them happy because so few are looking for the right thing to make them happy.  According to Solomon, happiness isn’t found in a bottle or in a bag.  It isn’t found on a shelf or in a box.  It isn’t found in a package or even in a person.  It isn’t found in activity or in an experience. According to Solomon, happiness is found in a virtue – it is found in wisdom.

How does wisdom bring happiness?
It brings happiness by offering its host INSIGHT.  It is wisdom that gives us the insight necessary to look beyond purchases and possessions as the source of true happiness.  It is wisdom that gives us the insight necessary to look beyond the bold promises of advertisers.  It is wisdom that gives us the insight necessary to look beyond a corporate title or a successful career as the source of true happiness.  It is wisdom that gives us the insight necessary to realize that happiness doesn’t hinge on a flawless companion.  Wisdom is that virtue that reveals the true source of happiness – a harmonious relationship with God and with man.  The wise know that peace with God and with man is what produces true happiness.  Happiness eludes the majority of souls in our world because spiritual insight eludes them.  

How does wisdom bring happiness?
It brings happiness by bringing HOLINESS.  The absence of happiness is misery and nothing brings misery quicker than personal failure.  Foolish decisions are always accompanied by regret, guilt and disgust.  Making major life decisions without wisdom typically results in living with lifelong consequences that feed misery.  Bankruptcy brings misery and bankruptcy is often the consequence of not being wise with money.  Excessive debt brings misery and such debt is often the result of not being wise with money.  Alcohol, drugs and other harmful substances bring misery and people almost always choose these harmful substances by ignoring wisdom.  While many difficult circumstances are beyond our control, the trouble that we bring ourselves is trouble that could be avoided by welcoming wisdom into our lives.  Personal failure is a predominant factor in our unhappiness.  Wisdom is that chief virtue that is given to prevent personal failure.  

Wisdom brings happiness because it prevents us from spending time pursuing happiness in all of the wrong places.  It gives us the perspective necessary to enjoy happiness.  Furthermore, wisdom prevents us from doing those things that introduce misery and that ultimately steal happiness from us.  How tragic it is that the average human soul continues to entertain unhappiness when wisdom is available.  If you want to find happiness, find wisdom for “happy is the man that findeth wisdom.”

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