Tag Archives: happiness
I don’t agree with Karl Barth on much, but his question — “Is it true? Is the Christian faith true?” is essential to biblical Christianity. We’ve seen that certain conclusions follow IF Christianity is true, for example, we have a message for the world which is both good news and bad news. Second, we have every reason to challenge other worldviews and religions as to their response to the gospel. Third, if the gospel is true, we have a complete justification to make the Bible our absolute guidebook for life. Fourth, we agreed that we desperately need the people of God, the church. Our fifth conclusion was that we can honestly face the suffering in the world without becoming cynical or callous. We have a theodicy which helps us understand evil and suffering.
Let’s look at a sixth conclusion and it is this —
IF THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THEN . . .
We can be supernaturally joyful despite the challenges of this fallen universe. I love the statement by the preacher who said that Christians owe it to the world to be supernaturally JOYFUL! Yes, we do! And we owe it to the Lord of joy! The epistle of Philippians emphasizes the issue of JOY in spite of suffering.
2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Your present troubles may not see “light” and “momentary,” but they are compared to what our Savior suffered on our behalf. We are to be “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
The follower of Jesus recognizes the tragedy of sin, the effects of the cosmic fall, the sadness of unbelief, but he or she must keep in mind what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 14 — “for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17)
Today’s Challenge: Would you describe yourself as full of joy in the Holy Spirit? If not, why not? What are some joy-killers that can drag down the believer and keep him or her from saying “Whoopee!”?
“How much money does a person need?”, someone once asked one of the world’s richest men. “Just a little bit more” was his response. We were never created to have our emptiness filled with the things of this world. We can appreciate the things of this world without expecting them to give us meaning and fulfillment. That’s God’s job!
Waiting for life “to shower me with meaning and happiness”! By nature we are self-centered, egotistical creatures whose desires drive us away from God! As Chesterton once put it, some theologians deny the doctrine of sin “which is as plain as potatoes!” Thankfully there is hope for those who will get out of their Lazyboys and open God’s book, the Bible! He wants to save us from ourselves. And then He begins the process of making us like His dear Son!
We are thinking about JOY as we work our way through the epistle to the Philippians (where the word “joy” and its variants are used 16 times). Before we look at the 1st use of the term “joy” in that letter, let’s focus a bit more on the term happiness.
Some of you know that my wife and I have a small Amazon business. We sell about 10-12 books a day. I was looking through our inventory and found the following titles (just read through the list. I then have a few concluding thoughts):
Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life (Trixie is a dog)
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness
Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough
Compulsory Happiness (Writings from an Unbound Europe)
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Dying to Be Happy: Discovering the Truth about Life
God Wants You Happy: From Self-Help to God’s Help
Happy to Be Me (Joyce Meyer)
Happiness: God’s Invitation to Delight, Celebration, and Joy (Randy Alcorn)
Happiness: Lessons from a New Science
Happy: Simple Steps to Get the Most Out of Life
How to Live Until You Die: The 7 Keys to Living Happy, Healthy & Whole
Human Nature in Its Fourfold State of Primitive Integrity, Entire Depravity, Begun Recovery, and Consummate Happiness or Misery
Looking Forward to MORE Monday Mornings: How to Drive Your Colleagues Happy
Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering the Discipline of the Good Life
Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: A No-Nonsense Approach to Raising Happy, Healthy Children
Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness
Radically Happy: A User’s Guide to the Mind
Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy
Seven Things That Steal Your Joy: Overcoming the Obstacles to Your Happiness
Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It
Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy Healthy Longer Life
Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health
The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World (Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu)
The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life
The Happiness Equation: 100 Factors That Can Add to or Subtract from Your Happiness
The Happiness Makeover: How to Teach Yourself to Be Happy and Enjoy Every Day
The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific
The Law of Happiness: How Spiritual Wisdom and Modern Science Can Change Your Life (Henry Cloud)
The Light Shines on in the Darkness: Transforming Suffering through Faith (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence)
The Marriage Makeover: Finding Happiness in Imperfect Harmony
The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness
The Secret to True Happiness: Enjoy Today, Embrace Tomorrow
The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour: Over 325 Recipes for Your Favorite Bar Snacks and Beer Cocktails
The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer
The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life
This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life (Volume 1)
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: 50 Years of Happy Frustration
That’s a lot of books on the topic of happiness! I’m not sure I want to know about Buddha’s Brain, but there really is a neuroscience of happiness. I love my dog (Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life) — but I don’t think he’s the one to teach me about happiness (he sleeps all day and snores).
I’m not sure that God “wants” me happy, but I’m fairly certain that He’s not happy if I’m always miserable! I’m intrigued by the title Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough.
Some of my books make me want to take them off our inventory and begin reading them, such as Randy Alcorn’s Happiness: God’s Invitation to Delight, Celebration, and Joy or J.P. Moreland’s Lost Virtue of Happiness: Discovering the Discipline of the Good Life or the classic Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life. However, Human Nature in Its Fourfold State of Primitive Integrity, Entire Depravity, Begun Recovery, and Consummate Happiness or Misery looks like a tome from some Puritan writer, so I’m sure it would be deeply spiritual and profound.
I wouldn’t waste a second reading The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour: Over 325 Recipes for Your Favorite Bar Snacks and Beer Cocktails, but, I must admit, I can envision myself curling up with The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific. The Happiness Equation: 100 Factors That Can Add to or Subtract from Your Happiness sounds like too much work to wade through.
As a Christian, I’m not sure I want to know what The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu says. I’m grateful for our happy marriage, so I don’t feel a need to read Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy.
Some of these books sound great — but I’m more interested in what God’s book, the Bible, has to say about JOY. (to be continued)