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The Way of Happiness

No. 1 2018
© 2017 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

This publication is not for sale. It is provided as part of a worldwide Bible educational work
supported by voluntary donations. To make a donation, please visit www.jw.org. Unless otherwise
indicated, Scripture quotations are from the modern-language New World Translation of the Holy
Scriptures.
Table of Contents

THE WAY OF HAPPINESS


3 Finding the Way

4 Contentment and Generosity

6 Physical Health and Resilience

8 Love

10 Forgiveness

12 Purpose in Life

14 Hope

16 Learn More
Introduction
WHERE CAN WE FIND SOUND GUIDANCE ON LIVING A
HAPPY LIFE?
The Bible says: “Happy are those who are blameless in their way.”​—Psalm 119:1.

These seven articles discuss sound, time-tested principles that contribute in a big way to happiness.

^ (Ps. 119:1) Happy are those who are blameless* in their way, Who walk in the law of Jehovah.

Or “who keep integrity.”


THE WAY OF HAPPINESS

Finding the Way


DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE A HAPPY PERSON? If so, what makes you happy? Your
family, your work, your religious faith? Perhaps you are looking forward to something that may make you
happy, such as finishing your schooling, getting a good job, or buying a new car.

Many people experience a measure of happiness when they reach a certain goal or obtain a desired item.
But how long does that surge of happiness last? Often, it is only temporary, which can be disappointing.

Happiness has been described as a state of well-being that is characterized by relative permanence, by
emotions ranging from mere contentment to deep and intense joy in living, and by a natural desire for it to
continue.

Further, as an ongoing state of well-being, happiness has been described, not as a destination or
goal, but as a journey. To say, “I’ll be happy when . . .” is, in effect, postponing happiness.

To illustrate, compare happiness with good health. How do we enjoy that state of physical well-being? We
follow a wise path in regard to diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle. Likewise, happiness results from
following a good path in life, living in harmony with sound principles.

What principles or qualities of life characterize the way of happiness? While some are more important
than others, the following play a key role:

CONTENTMENT AND GENEROSITY

PHYSICAL HEALTH AND RESILIENCE

LOVE
FORGIVENESS

PURPOSE IN LIFE

HOPE

A highly respected book of wisdom states: “Happy are those who are blameless in their way.” (Psalm
119:1) Let us now consider that way.

^ (Ps. 119:1) Happy are those who are blameless* in their way, Who walk in the law of Jehovah.

Or “who keep integrity.”


THE WAY OF HAPPINESS

Contentment and Generosity


HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU HEARD HAPPINESS AND SUCCESS MEASURED IN TERMS OF ASSETS
OR WEALTH? Driven by that view, millions work long, exhausting hours to make more money. But do
money and possessions bring lasting happiness? What does the evidence suggest?

According to the Journal of Happiness Studies, once our basic needs are met, more income does little to
improve our overall happiness or our sense of well-being. Money itself is not the issue. It’s “the striving for
[money] that’s linked to unhappiness,” states an article in the magazine Monitor on Psychology. Those
words mirror this advice given in the Bible almost two thousand years ago: “The love of money is a root of
all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have . . . stabbed themselves all over
with many pains.” (1 Timothy 6:9, 10) What may those pains include?

WORRY AND LOSS OF SLEEP BECAUSE WEALTH HAS TO BE PROTECTED. “Sweet is the sleep of
the one serving, whether he eats little or much, but the plenty belonging to the rich one does not permit
him to sleep.”​—Ecclesiastes 5:12.

DISAPPOINTMENT WHEN THE PROMISED HAPPINESS FAILS TO ARRIVE. In part, that letdown is
because a craving for money cannot be satisfied. “A lover of silver will never be satisfied with silver, nor a
lover of wealth with income.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10) Also, a hunger for wealth may move a person to sacrifice
important things that do promote happiness, such as precious time spent with family and friends or in
spiritual pursuits.

GRIEF AND FRUSTRATION WHEN MONEY OR INVESTMENTS DEPRECIATE OR FAIL. “Do not wear
yourself out to gain wealth. Stop and show understanding. When you cast your eyes on it, it is not there,
for it will surely sprout wings like an eagle and fly off.”​—Proverbs 23:4, 5.
QUALITIES THAT PROMOTE HAPPINESS
CONTENTMENT. “We have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So,
having food and clothing, we will be content with these things.” (1 Timothy 6:7, 8) People who are content
are not disposed to complain or grumble, and their attitude protects them against envy. And because their
desires do not exceed their means, they spare themselves needless anxiety and stress.

GENEROSITY. “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Generous
people are happy because they enjoy making others happy, even if all they can give is a little of their time
and energy. They often gain in abundance what no amount of money can buy​—love, respect, and
genuine friends, who give generously in return!​—Luke 6:38.

PUTTING PEOPLE BEFORE THINGS. “Better is a dish of vegetables where there is love than a fattened
bull where there is hatred.” (Proverbs 15:17) The point? Loving relationships with others are more
valuable than material riches. And love, as we shall see later, is vital to happiness.

Sabina, a woman in South America, learned the value of Bible principles. Abandoned by her husband,
Sabina struggled to obtain life’s necessities for herself and her two daughters. She held two jobs and daily
rose at 4:00 a.m. Despite her grueling schedule, Sabina decided to study the Bible. The result?

Her economic status remained much the same. But her outlook on life improved dramatically! For
example, she gained the happiness that comes from satisfying one’s spiritual need. (Matthew 5:3) She
found true friends among fellow believers. And she experienced the happiness of giving by sharing with
others what she had learned.

“Wisdom is vindicated by its results,” the Bible says. (Matthew 11:19; footnote) On that basis,
contentment and generosity as well as putting people before things stand thoroughly vindicated!

KEY POINTS

“The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love
some have . . . stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”​—1 Timothy 6:10.

“The love of money” can lead to . . .

Worry and loss of sleep

Disappointment

Grief and frustration

Happiness comes to those who . . .

Are content with what they have

Are generous

Put people before things


^ (1 Tim. 6:9, 10) But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many
senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin. 10 For the love of money is a
root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the
faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.

^ (Eccl. 5:12) Sweet is the sleep of the one serving, whether he eats little or much, but the plenty
belonging to the rich one does not permit him to sleep.

^ (Eccl. 5:10) A lover of silver will never be satisfied with silver, nor a lover of wealth with income. This too
is futility.

^ (Prov. 23:4, 5) Do not wear yourself out to gain wealth. Stop and show understanding.* 5 When you
cast your eyes on it, it is not there, For it will surely sprout wings like an eagle and fly off into the sky.

Or possibly, “Cease from your own understanding.”

^ (1 Tim. 6:7, 8) For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. 8 So,
having food* and clothing,* we will be content with these things.

Or “sustenance.”

Or “shelter.” Lit., “covering.”

^ (Acts 20:35) I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way, you must assist those who
are weak and must keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, when he himself said: ‘There is more
happiness in giving than there is in receiving.’”

^ (Luke 6:38) Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure,
pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they
will measure out to you in return.”

^ (Prov. 15:17) Better is a dish of vegetables where there is love Than a fattened* bull where there is
hatred.

Lit., “manger-fed.”

^ (Matt. 5:3) “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need,* since the Kingdom of the heavens
belongs to them.

Or “those who are beggars for the spirit.”

^ (Matt. 11:19) The Son of man did come eating and drinking, but people say, ‘Look! A man who is a
glutton and is given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ All the same, wisdom is
proved righteous* by its works.”*

Or “is vindicated.”
Or “by its results.”

^ (1 Tim. 6:10) For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this
love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.
THE WAY OF HAPPINESS

Physical Health and Resilience


CHRONIC ILL HEALTH OR DISABILITY CAN HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT ON A PERSON’S LIFE. After
becoming physically paralyzed, a once active and healthy man named Ulf said: “I became deeply
depressed. My strength, courage, and power drained away . . . I felt ‘destroyed.’”

Ulf’s experience reminds us that none of us have complete control over our health. Still, we can take
reasonable measures to reduce the risk of ill health. But what if our health deteriorates? Does that doom
us to unhappiness? Not at all, as we shall see. First, though, let us consider some principles that promote
good health.

BE “MODERATE IN HABITS.” (1 Timothy 3:2, 11) Habitually eating or drinking to excess is obviously
bad for our health​—not to mention our finances! “Do not be among those who drink too much wine,
among those who gorge themselves on meat, for a drunkard and a glutton will come to poverty.”​
—Proverbs 23:20, 21.

DO NOT POLLUTE YOUR BODY. “Let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.”
(2 Corinthians 7:1) People defile their bodies when they chew or smoke tobacco or abuse alcohol or
drugs. Smoking, for example, “leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body,”
says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

VIEW YOUR BODY AND YOUR LIFE AS PRECIOUS GIFTS. “By [God] we have life and move and
exist.” (Acts 17:28) Appreciating that fact moves us to avoid taking needless risks, whether we are at
work, driving, or choosing our recreation. A momentary thrill is not worth a life of disability!

CONTROL NEGATIVE EMOTIONS. Your mind and body are closely linked. So try to avoid undue
anxiety, unbridled anger, envy, and other harmful emotions. “Let go of anger and abandon rage,” says
Psalm 37:8. We also read: “Never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own
anxieties.”​—Matthew 6:34.

TRY TO FOCUS ON POSITIVE THOUGHTS. “A calm heart gives life to the body,” says Proverbs 14:30.
The Bible also states: “A joyful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22) That is a scientifically sound
statement. “If you are happy,” said a doctor in Scotland, “you are likely in the future to have less in the
way of physical illness than those who are unhappy.”

BUILD RESILIENCE. Like Ulf, mentioned earlier, we may have no choice but to endure a persistent trial.
Still, we can choose how we endure. Some become overwhelmed with discouragement, which may only
make matters worse. “If you become discouraged in the day of distress, your strength will be meager,”
says Proverbs 24:10.

Others, perhaps after initial feelings of despair, bounce back. They adapt. They find ways to cope. That
was the case with Ulf. He said that after much prayer and meditation on the Bible’s positive message, he
“started to see opportunities instead of obstacles.” Moreover, like many who undergo major trials, he
learned valuable lessons in compassion and empathy, which moved him to share the Bible’s comforting
message with others.

Another person who suffered greatly was a man named Steve. At age 15, he had an accident that
paralyzed him from the neck down. By the time he was 18, he had regained the use of his arms. He then
went to a university, where his life spiraled into drugs, alcohol, and sexual immorality. He had no hope​—
until he began to study the Bible, which gave him a new outlook on life and helped him to conquer his bad
habits. “The emptiness that I had felt for so long was no longer there,” he said. “My life is now filled with
peace, happiness, and contentment.”

Steve and Ulf’s comments call to mind the words at Psalm 19:7, 8: “The law of Jehovah is perfect,
restoring strength. . . . The orders from Jehovah are righteous, causing the heart to rejoice; the
commandment of Jehovah is clean, making the eyes shine.”

KEY POINTS

When applied, God’s laws and principles ‘restore strength, cause the heart to rejoice, and
make the eyes shine.’​—Psalm 19:7, 8.

The Bible encourages us to . . .

Be moderate in habits

Take good care of our body

View life as sacred

Control negative emotions

Focus on positive thoughts

Build resilience
^ (1 Tim. 3:2) The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, moderate in
habits, sound in mind,* orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach,

Or “have good judgment; be sensible.”

^ (1 Tim. 3:11) Women should likewise be serious, not slanderous, moderate in habits, faithful in all
things.

^ (Prov. 23:20, 21) Do not be among those who drink too much wine, Among those who gorge
themselves on meat, 21 For a drunkard and a glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe one
with rags.

^ (2 Cor. 7:1) Therefore, since we have these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves of every
defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

^ (Acts 17:28) For by him we have life and move and exist, even as some of your own poets have said,
‘For we are also his children.’*

Or “progeny.”

^ (Ps. 37:8) Let go of anger and abandon rage; Do not become upset and turn to doing evil.*

Or possibly, “Do not become upset, for it can only lead to harm.”

^ (Matt. 6:34) So never be anxious about the next day, for the next day will have its own anxieties. Each
day has enough of its own troubles.

^ (Prov. 14:30) A calm heart gives life* to the body, But jealousy is rottenness to the bones.

Or “health.”

^ (Prov. 17:22) A joyful heart is good medicine,* But a crushed spirit saps one’s strength.*

Or “good for healing.”

Or “dries up the bones.”

^ (Prov. 24:10) If you become discouraged in the day of distress,* Your strength will be meager.

Or “in times of trouble.”

^ (Ps. 19:7, 8) The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring strength.* The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced one wise. 8 The orders from Jehovah are righteous, causing the heart to
rejoice; The commandment of Jehovah is clean, making the eyes shine.

Or “restoring (bringing back) the soul.”


^ (Ps. 19:7, 8) The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring strength.* The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced one wise. 8 The orders from Jehovah are righteous, causing the heart to
rejoice; The commandment of Jehovah is clean, making the eyes shine.

Or “restoring (bringing back) the soul.”


THE WAY OF HAPPINESS

Love
HUMANS CRAVE LOVE. No marriage, family, or friendship can thrive without it. It stands to reason,
therefore, that love is essential to mental health and happiness. What, though, is meant by “love”?

The love referred to here is not romantic love, which, of course, has its place. Rather, it is a superior form
of love that causes a person to show sincere concern for the welfare of others, even putting them before
self. It is love that is guided by godly principles but is by no means devoid of warmth and feeling.

A beautiful description of love states: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does
not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become
provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices
with the truth. It bears all things, . . . hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”​—1 Corinthians
13:4-8.

Such love “never fails” in that it will never cease to exist. Indeed, it can grow stronger over time. And
because it is patient, kind, and forgiving, it is “a perfect bond of union.” (Colossians 3:14) Hence,
relationships bound by such love are both secure and happy despite the imperfections of the individuals.
For example, consider the marriage union.

UNITED BY “A PERFECT BOND OF UNION”


Jesus Christ taught important principles on marriage. For instance, he said: “‘A man will leave his father
and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’ . . . Therefore, what God has yoked
together, let no man put apart.” (Matthew 19:5, 6) At least two important principles stand out.
“THE TWO WILL BE ONE FLESH.” Marriage is the most intimate union humans can have, and love can
protect it against infidelity​—that is, the husband or wife becoming “one body” with someone other than his
or her spouse. (1 Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 13:4) Unfaithfulness shatters trust and can wreck the
marriage. If children are involved, they may be emotionally traumatized, feeling unloved, insecure, or
even resentful.

“WHAT GOD HAS YOKED TOGETHER.” Marriage is also a sacred union. Couples who respect that fact
strive to strengthen their marriage. They do not look for a way out when difficulties arise. Their love is
strong and resilient. Such a love “bears all things,” working through difficulties in an effort to maintain
marital harmony and peace.

When self-sacrificing love exists between parents, any children in the family benefit greatly. A young
woman named Jessica observed: “My father and mother truly love and respect each other. When I see
my mother respect my father, especially when dealing with us children, it makes me want to be just like
her.”

Love is God’s foremost quality. In fact, the Bible says: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) It thus comes as no
surprise that Jehovah is also called “the happy God.” (1 Timothy 1:11) We too will be happy when we
strive to imitate our Creator’s qualities​—especially his love. Says Ephesians 5:1, 2: “Become imitators of
God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love.”

KEY POINTS

‘Love is patient and kind. It bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never
fails.’​—1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Love promotes happiness because it . . .

Helps us to show sincere concern for the welfare of others

Can grow stronger over time

Gives strength and resilience to friendships and marriages

Helps children to thrive and feel secure

Makes us more like our Creator

^ (1 Cor. 13:4-8) Love is patient* and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up,
5 does not behave indecently,* does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not

keep account of the injury.* 6 It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But if there are
gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with; if there are tongues,* they will cease; if there is knowledge,
it will be done away with.
Or “long-suffering.”

Or “is not rude.”

Or “of wrongs.”

That is, miraculous speaking in other languages.

^ (Col. 3:14) But besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.

^ (Matt. 19:5, 6) and said: ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his
wife, and the two will be one flesh’? 6 So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God
has yoked together, let no man put apart.”

^ (1 Cor. 6:16) Do you not know that anyone who is joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For “the
two,” says he, “will be one flesh.”

^ (Heb. 13:4) Let marriage be honorable among all, and let the marriage bed be without defilement, for
God will judge sexually immoral people* and adulterers.

See Glossary, “Sexual immorality.”

^ (1 John 4:8) Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.

^ (1 Tim. 1:11) according to the glorious good news of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.

^ (Eph. 5:1, 2) Therefore, become imitators of God, as beloved children, 2 and go on walking in love, just
as the Christ also loved us* and gave himself for us* as an offering and a sacrifice, a sweet fragrance to
God.

Or possibly, “you.”

Or possibly, “you.”

^ (1 Cor. 13:4-8) Love is patient* and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up,
5 does not behave indecently,* does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not

keep account of the injury.* 6 It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But if there are
gifts of prophecy, they will be done away with; if there are tongues,* they will cease; if there is knowledge,
it will be done away with.

Or “long-suffering.”

Or “is not rude.”

Or “of wrongs.”

That is, miraculous speaking in other languages.


THE WAY OF HAPPINESS

Forgiveness
“DURING MY CHILDHOOD, I HEARD A LOT OF INSULTS AND SCREAMING,” said a woman named
Patricia. “I did not learn to forgive. Even as an adult, I would dwell on an offense for days, losing sleep.”
Yes, a life filled with anger and resentment is neither a happy one nor a healthy one. Indeed, studies
show that unforgiving people may . . .

Let anger or bitterness sour relationships, leading to isolation and loneliness

Become easily offended, anxious, or even severely depressed

Become so focused on a wrong that they cannot enjoy life

Feel that they are at odds with their spiritual values

Experience increased stress and a higher risk of ill health, including high blood pressure, heart
disease, and pain disorders, such as arthritis and headaches*

WHAT IS FORGIVENESS? Forgiveness means pardoning an offender and letting go of anger,


resentment, and thoughts of revenge. It does not mean condoning a wrong, minimizing it, or pretending
that it did not happen. Rather, forgiveness is a well-thought-out personal choice that reflects a loving
commitment to peace and to building or maintaining a good relationship with the other person.

Forgiveness also reflects understanding. A forgiving person understands that we all err, or sin, in word
and deed. (Romans 3:23) Reflecting such insight, the Bible says: “Continue putting up with one another
and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another.”​—Colossians
3:13.
It stands to reason, then, that forgiveness is an important facet of love, which is “a perfect bond of union.”
(Colossians 3:14) Indeed, according to the Mayo Clinic website, forgiveness leads to . . .

Healthier relationships, including feelings of empathy, understanding, and compassion for the
offender

Improved mental and spiritual well-being

Less anxiety, stress, and hostility

Fewer symptoms of depression

FORGIVE YOURSELF. Self-forgiveness can be “the most difficult to achieve,” yet “the most important to
health”​—mental and physical—​according to the journal Disability & Rehabilitation. What can help you to
forgive yourself?

Do not expect perfection from yourself, but realistically accept that you​—like all of us—​will make
mistakes.​—Ecclesiastes 7:20

Learn from your errors so that you will be less likely to repeat them

Be patient with yourself; some personality flaws and bad habits may not go away overnight.​
—Ephesians 4:23, 24

Associate with friends who are encouraging, positive, and kind but who will also be honest with you.​
—Proverbs 13:20

If you hurt someone, take responsibility for it and be quick to apologize. When you make peace, you
will gain inner peace.​—Matthew 5:23, 24

BIBLE PRINCIPLES REALLY WORK!


After studying the Bible, Patricia, quoted at the outset, learned to forgive. “I feel liberated from the anger
that poisoned my life,” she wrote. “I no longer suffer, and I don’t make others suffer. Bible principles
confirm that God loves us and wants the best for us.”

A man named Ron said: “I could not control the thoughts and actions of others. But I could control my
own. If I wanted peace, I had to let go of resentment. I began to view peace and resentment as north and
south. I could not be in both places at the same time. I now have a good conscience.”

^ par. 8 Sources: Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medicine websites and the journal Social Psychiatry
and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
KEY POINTS

“Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely.”​—Colossians 3:13.

Forgiveness leads to . . .

Healthier relationships and inner peace

Less anxiety, hostility, and stress

Improved physical, mental, and spiritual health

^ (Rom. 3:23) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

^ (Col. 3:13) Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a
cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah* freely forgave you, you must also do the same.

See App. A5.

^ (Col. 3:14) But besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.

^ (Eccl. 7:20) For there is no righteous man on earth who always does good and never sins.

^ (Eph. 4:23, 24) And you should continue to be made new in your dominant mental attitude,* 24 and
should put on the new personality that was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and
loyalty.

Or “in the force actuating your mind.” Lit., “to the spirit of your mind.”

^ (Prov. 13:20) The one walking with the wise will become wise, But the one who has dealings with the
stupid will fare badly.

^ (Matt. 5:23, 24) “If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and there you remember that your brother
has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away. First make your
peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift.

^ (Col. 3:13) Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a
cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah* freely forgave you, you must also do the same.

See App. A5.


THE WAY OF HAPPINESS

Purpose in Life
HUMANS ARE UNIQUE IN MANY WAYS​—WE WRITE, WE PAINT, WE CREATE, AND WE THINK
ABOUT LIFE’S BIG QUESTIONS: Why does the universe exist? How did we come to be? What is the
purpose of life? What does the future hold?

Some people shy away from those questions, thinking that the answers are beyond us. Others say that
such questions are pointless because life is a product of mindless evolution. “There are no gods, no
purposes,” claimed professor of history and biology William Provine. He added: “There is no ultimate
foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life.”

Some people, however, consider that fatalistic outlook unacceptable. They see a universe that is
governed by precise, elegant, mathematical laws. They marvel at the impressive designs in nature, some
of which humans try to mimic in man-made products. And everyday experience tells them that complex,
highly functional designs point to intelligence, not undirected forces.

Such reasoning has moved some evolutionists to reconsider their position. Note the following two
examples.

NEUROSURGEON DR. ALEXEI MARNOV. “The schools I attended taught atheism and evolution,” he
said. “Anyone believing in God was considered uninformed.” In 1990, however, his thinking began to
change.

“I have always tried to understand the logical reason for things,” he explains, “including the human brain.
This amazing organ has rightly been called the most complex structure in the known universe. But was
the brain designed to gain knowledge and skills and then die? This seemed pointless, unreasonable. So I
began to wonder: ‘Why are we here? What is the purpose of life?’ After some serious reflection, I
concluded that there must be a Creator.”

The quest for life’s purpose led Alexei to examine the Bible. Later, his wife, a medical doctor who was
also an atheist, studied the Bible as well​—initially to prove her husband wrong! Now, however, both firmly
believe in God and understand his purpose for humankind as explained in the Scriptures.

PLASMA SCIENTIST DR. HUABI YIN. Huabi Yin studied physics, and for many years, she did research
on plasma. Considered the fourth state of matter, plasma (as in the sun) is composed largely of electrons
and positive ions.

“Whenever we scientists study natural phenomena,” says Huabi, “we always find a high degree of order,
which is a result of precise laws. ‘How did these laws arise?’ I wondered. ‘If even a simple cooking fire
must be carefully controlled, who is responsible for the laws that regulate the sun?’ In time, I concluded
that the first statement in the Bible is the most logical answer: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens
and the earth.’”​—Genesis 1:1.

Science, to be sure, has shed light on many “how” questions, such as: How do brain cells work? And how
does the sun generate heat and light? But as Alexei and Huabi discovered, the Bible answers the more
important “why” questions: Why does the universe exist? Why is it governed by laws? And why do we
exist?

Regarding the earth, the Bible says: “[God] did not create it simply for nothing, but formed it to be
inhabited.” (Isaiah 45:18) Yes, God has a purpose for the earth, and as the next article will show, that
purpose is closely related to our hope for the future.

KEY POINTS

‘God did not create the earth simply for nothing, but formed it to be inhabited.’​—Isaiah 45:18.

“We need something to live for”

“To keep alive and mentally healthy we need something to live for,” wrote William McDougall, a
professor of psychology. In a similar vein, Carol Ryff, also a professor of psychology, said that people
whose “lives have purpose show widespread health benefits​—they have reduced risk for cognitive
[mental] impairment . . . , reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, better recovery profiles from stroke
. . . and, relatedly, they live longer.”

^ (Gen. 1:1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

^ (Isa. 45:18) For this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who
formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing,* but formed
it to be inhabited: “I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.
Or possibly, “to be empty.”

^ (Isa. 45:18) For this is what Jehovah says, The Creator of the heavens, the true God, The One who
formed the earth, its Maker who firmly established it, Who did not create it simply for nothing,* but formed
it to be inhabited: “I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.

Or possibly, “to be empty.”


THE WAY OF HAPPINESS

Hope
“[I have] thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give you a future and a
hope.”​—Jeremiah 29:11.

“HOPE IS . . . AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF OUR SPIRITUAL LIFEBLOOD,” states the book Hope in
the Age of Anxiety. “And it is the best medicine for overcoming feelings of helplessness, alienation, and
fear.”

Our need for hope is reflected in the pages of the Bible, which also cautions us against false hopes. “Do
not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation,” says Psalm 146:3. Instead
of trusting in human efforts to save us, we are wise to trust in our Creator, who has the power to fulfill all
his promises. What has he promised us? Consider the following.

WICKEDNESS WILL END; LASTING PEACE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS WILL FOLLOW: “Just a little
while longer, and the wicked will be no more . . . But the meek will possess the earth, and they will find
exquisite delight in the abundance of peace,” states Psalm 37:10, 11. Verse 29 adds that “the righteous
. . . will live forever” on the earth.

AN END TO WARFARE: “Jehovah . . . is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth. He breaks the
bow and shatters the spear; he burns the military wagons with fire.”​—Psalm 46:8, 9.

NO MORE SICKNESS, SUFFERING, OR DEATH: “The tent of God is with mankind . . . He will wipe out
every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be
anymore.”​—Revelation 21:3, 4.
AMPLE FOOD FOR ALL: “There will be an abundance of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains
it will overflow.”​—Psalm 72:16.

A JUST RULERSHIP BY ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT​—CHRIST’S KINGDOM: “To [Jesus Christ]


there were given rulership, honor, and a kingdom, that the peoples, nations, and language groups should
all serve him. His rulership is an everlasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom will not be
destroyed.”​—Daniel 7:14.

How can we be sure of those promises? When on earth, Jesus publicly confirmed his credentials as King-
Designate. He healed the sick, fed the poor, and raised the dead. Even more important were his
teachings, for they include principles that will enable people to live together forever in peace and unity.
Jesus also foretold future events, including those that would mark the final days of the present world.

THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM


Jesus foretold that the last days would be marked, not by peace and security, but by the very opposite!
His composite sign of “the conclusion of the system of things” includes international warfare, food
shortages, pestilences, and great earthquakes. (Matthew 24:3, 7; Luke 21:10, 11; Revelation 6:3-8) Jesus
also said: “Because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold.”​
—Matthew 24:12.

That coldness is evident in many ways, which another Bible writer specifically foretold. At 2 Timothy 3:1-5,
we read that in “the last days,” people in general would be obsessed with self, money, and pleasures.
They would be arrogant and fierce. Families would lack natural affection, and children would be
disobedient to parents. Religious hypocrisy would be commonplace.

Those stormlike conditions confirm that this world is in its last days. They also confirm that the calm
of Kingdom rule is near. Indeed, Jesus included the following assurance in his prophecy about the last
days: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the
nations, and then the end will come.”​—Matthew 24:14.

That good news gives fair warning to wrongdoers and hope to the righteous, assuring the latter that the
promised blessings will soon become reality. Would you like to learn more about those blessings? If so,
please turn to the back page of this magazine.

^ (Jer. 29:11) “‘For I well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward you,’ declares Jehovah, ‘thoughts of
peace, and not of calamity, to give you a future and a hope.

^ (Ps. 146:3) Do not put your trust in princes* Nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation.

Or “nobles.”

^ (Ps. 37:10, 11) Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more; You will look at where they
were, And they will not be there. 11 But the meek will possess the earth, And they will find exquisite
delight in the abundance of peace.
^ (Ps. 37:29) The righteous will possess the earth, And they will live forever on it.

^ (Ps. 46:8, 9) Come and witness the activities of Jehovah, How he has done astonishing things on the
earth. 9 He is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
He burns the military wagons* with fire.

Or possibly, “the shields.”

^ (Rev. 21:3, 4) With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with
mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.
4 And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor

outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

^ (Ps. 72:16) There will be an abundance of grain on the earth; On the top of the mountains it will
overflow. His fruit will flourish as in Lebʹa·non, And in the cities people will blossom like the vegetation of
the earth.

^ (Dan. 7:14) And to him there were given rulership, honor, and a kingdom, that the peoples, nations, and
language groups should all serve him. His rulership is an everlasting rulership that will not pass away, and
his kingdom will not be destroyed.

^ (Matt. 24:3) While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying:
“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence* and of the conclusion of
the system of things?”*

See Glossary.

Or “the age.” See Glossary.

^ (Matt. 24:7) “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food
shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.

^ (Luke 21:10, 11) Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11 There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences; and

there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.

^ (Rev. 6:3-8) When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say: “Come!”
4 Another came out, a fiery-colored horse, and it was granted to the one seated on it to take peace away

from the earth so that they should slaughter one another, and he was given a great sword. 5 When he
opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say: “Come!” And I saw, and look! a black horse,
and the one seated on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 I heard what sounded like a voice in the midst
of the four living creatures say: “A quart* of wheat for a de·narʹi·us* and three quarts of barley for a
de·narʹi·us; and do not harm the olive oil and the wine.” 7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the
voice of the fourth living creature say: “Come!” 8 And I saw, and look! a pale horse, and the one seated on
it had the name Death. And the Grave* was closely following him. And authority was given them over the
fourth part of the earth, to kill with a long sword and with food shortage and with deadly plague and by the
wild beasts of the earth.

See App. B14.

A Roman silver coin that equaled a day’s wage. See App. B14.

Or “Hades,” that is, the common grave of mankind. See Glossary.

^ (Matt. 24:12) and because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow
cold.

^ (2 Tim. 3:1-5) But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2 For men
will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
unthankful, disloyal, 3 having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-
control, fierce, without love of goodness, 4 betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of
pleasures rather than lovers of God, 5 having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power;
and from these turn away.

^ (Matt. 24:14) And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a
witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
THE WAY OF HAPPINESS

Learn More
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED:
How can my family be happy?

How can I make good friends and also be a good friend?

What hope is there for my dead loved ones?

Will suffering ever end?

Will humans eventually destroy the earth?

Do all religions lead to the true God?

YOU CAN FIND THE ANSWERS TO THESE AND OTHER


QUESTIONS
Visit the jw.org website, which is available in more than 900 languages. There you can find helpful
information on a broad range of topics.

You can enjoy videos about people from a variety of backgrounds who found the way of happiness and
never looked back! Some had even been drug addicts or prison inmates. Others are highly educated
professionals, including scientists.
At jw.org you will be able to access or download a variety of Bibles and a wide array of other publications​
—all at no cost. The many titles include the following:

Your Family Can Be Happy

Lasting Peace and Happiness​—How to Find Them

Good News From God!


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