Monday, December 29, 2014

Finding Happiness in 2015

Most sane people desire to live a life filled with peace and happiness.  While fleeting at times and difficult to prescribe for many, a recent survey of over 15,000 Americans reveals a secret to happiness known to many but ignored by the majority.

This survey of American adults, between the ages of 18 and 60, reveals that people who attend religious services weekly are almost twice as likely to describe themselves as “very happy” when compared to those who never attend such gatherings (45% vs. 28%).  The other end of the spectrum confirms this pattern.  Twice as many people, who never go to religious services, view themselves “very unhappy” as those who do attend (4% vs. 2%).

Moreover, while the study found that personal identification as religious or an affiliation with a particular group were also linked to a sense of happiness, the strongest factor was weekly participation in church services.  

One cannot explain this phenomenon merely as the fruit of social interaction.  The survey found that religious participation produced a greater sense of happiness than for those who were merely socially engaged in other ways.

And these results are not a fluke in 2014.  Ten years ago a social survey found similar patterns.  In 2004, religious Americans were again nearly twice as likely to view themselves as “very happy” when compared to the non-religious (43% to 21%).  And the reverse was also then true: those who never attend worship services were much more likely to indicate a lack of happiness (21% vs. 8%).

Truly there is nothing new under the sun.  The Bible warns against “neglecting to meet together.” In view are not social relationships in general but specifically focused interaction to encourage faithfulness to and worship of the Lord.

If there is a spiritual void producing unhappiness in your life, make the weekly worship of God your focus in 2015.