• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Love of Pleasure

According to J. C. Ryle:

“Youth is the time when our passions are strongest—and like unruly children, cry most loudly for indulgence. Youth is the time when we have generally our most health and strength: death seems far away, and to enjoy ourselves in this life seems to be everything. ‘I serve lusts and pleasures’, that is the true answer many a young man should give if asked, ‘Whose servant are you?’”

Living With Joy and Happiness

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1 ESV)

Is it possible to find true happiness? In our culture there are many who claim to be bored, unhappy, depressed, and stressed out. When I feel out of sorts I always find much relief in the Psalms. Let’s take a look at Psalm I and see what we can find out about joy and happiness.

In verses 1 and 2 we are taught that a blessed or happy man “walks not in the counsel of the wicked”. In other words, he does not listen to sinners about how to live his life. He “stands [not] in the way of sinners”. He avoids places where sinners gather. He does not sit “in the seat of scoffers”. He does not ridicule those who try to live to the glory of God. The blessed man delights “in the law of the Lord”. He finds happiness in the Word of God. Therefore, “on his law he meditates day and night”. Think of a man reading and re-reading with a consistent focused interest. This is a habit; something he makes time for each day.

In verse 3 we are told that the happy man “is like a tree planted by streams of water”. We find here a beautiful description of the life of a man rooted in God’s Word. Such a tree “ yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither”. For, truly, the blessed man’s life is one of fruitfulness that brings blessings to him and others. Because his life is rooted in the Word of God, he is not much affected by the seasons of drought which bring unfavorable conditions to his life. “In all that he does, he prospers.”

We all know this is a general rule with exceptions according to God’s plans and purpose. We may not understand all that God is doing, but we must accept His Providence. In general, however, the holy life is a blessed life; a life accompanied by joy and happiness.

In verses 4 – 6, we find the present condition and future estate of the wicked: “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. . . .” Is not the representation of the unrighteous as “chaff that the wind drives away” also a good description of the “bored, unhappy, depressed, and stressed out” life that I have mentioned above; a life with no purpose or direction but lusting for self-gratification.

The joyful and happy life is the consequence of focused meditation on the Word of God and heeding the counsel of the Lord. If you wish to lead a joyful and happy life in God’s world, then you must live it in God’s way.

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