The Fruit of the Spirit Are Ingredients of Happiness

What’s our greatest source of joy? Paul pointed to the Holy Spirit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Commenting on chara, the Greek Word usually rendered “joy” in this passage, the United Bible Societies’ translation handbook advises, “In some languages joy is essentially equivalent to ‘causes people to be very happy.’ In order to indicate that this joy is not merely some passing experience, one may say ‘to be truly happy within their hearts.’ In some languages joy is expressed idiomatically as ‘to be warm within one’s heart,’ or ‘to dance within one’s heart.’”

Translating the fruit of the Spirit as adjectives rather than nouns, the Contemporary English Version reads, “God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled.”

If it seems that the translators are taking liberties by saying “happy” instead of “joyful,” note that the other eight adjectives perfectly correspond to the nouns used in the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible. Chara is the only Greek word in this passage rendered differently by the CEV translators. Their goal was faithfulness to the original language. “Joy” is a good translation of chara, but so too is its synonym “happiness.”

Some suggest that the order of the ninefold fruit of the Spirit is significant and that love is named first because “the greatest . . . is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). If this is true, then joy’s position as the second listed might imply it’s the second greatest.

Why does Paul emphasize joy and the other eight components of the Spirit’s fruit in the context of his attack on legalism in Galatians? Reading between the lines, we might surmise that joy was too rare among the Christians there, as it often is today.

Paul’s argument in Galatians suggests that self-righteous legalism chokes out the fruit of the Spirit, leading believers to become killjoys. Killjoys find pleasure in always being right and showing that others are wrong. Their false joy comes from thinking, I’m the smartest, purest, and most doctrinally, behaviorally, or politically correct person in the room. Unfortunately, no one wants to be in the room with them . . . including Jesus.

Finish at: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/randyalcorn/2020/08/fruit-spirit-ingredients-happiness/

Moral Standards and Goodness Can’t Exist Without God

Atheists’ argument that goodness and moral standards can exist without God  does not hold up. If there’s no God, people don’t live after death and aren’t held accountable for their actions, good or evil. That’s why Dostoevsky said, “Destroy a man’s belief in immortality and… everything would be permitted, even cannibalism” (The Brothers Karamazov).

To say that an atheistic worldview provides no basis for the existence of good and evil does not mean that atheists have no sense of right and wrong. They do. They live in a culture influenced by a historic belief in God and the morality revealed in Scripture. This provides them a residual basis for believing that moral categories are important, while their own worldview doesn’t.

How does an atheistic worldview explain an atheist’s morals? Suppose time, chance, and natural forces accounted for us. If we could move from nonlife to life and from irrational to rational—quantum leaps, to say the least—then what more could we do than invent pragmatic social rules to govern group behavior? Since the powerful make the rules and they would survive longer by making the weak serve them, then why would anyone but the weak want life to change?

If the natural world is all there is, would mankind get its morals from animal instincts? A gazelle runs from the cheetah, but gazelles don’t sit around the campfire and discuss how unfair it is for cheetahs to kill gazelles. Neither do cheetahs wrestle with the morality of whether they should kill gazelles. Do fish have rights that sharks should recognize and respect? Are sharks evil for eating fish? Would a good shark refrain from taking advantage of vulnerable fish? If so, how long would it survive?

In an evolutionary worldview, why object to stronger human beings stealing from or killing weaker ones? Wouldn’t this simply be natural selection and survival of the fittest, not a question of right or wrong?

Read more of Randy Alcorn’s blog: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/randyalcorn/2021/05/moral-standards-goodness/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Sharing+the+Gospel&utm_content=46

What Will Heaven REALLY Be Like? Find Out In This Jam-Packed Video

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NrU8ReSEBs

Common Christian Myths About Happiness

Happiness is what we all want, and believers throughout the centuries, like Brooks and Wesley, have affirmed that it is a good desire when we seek it in Christ. Unfortunately, countless modern Christians have been taught various myths about happiness.

Is God Concerned Only with Our Holiness?

As a young pastor, I preached, as others still do, “God calls us to holiness, not happiness.” I saw Christians pursue what they thought would make them happy, falling headlong into sexual immorality, alcoholism, and materialism. The lure of happiness appeared at odds with holiness. I was attempting to oppose our human tendency to put preferences and convenience before obedience to Christ. It all sounded so spiritual, and I could quote countless authors and preachers who agreed with me.

I’m now convinced we were all dead wrong.

To be holy is to see God as he is and to become like him, covered in Christ’s righteousness. And since God’s nature is to be happy (Psalm 115:3; 1 Timothy 1:11), the more like him we become in our sanctification, the happier we will be. Forcing a choice between happiness and holiness is utterly foreign to Scripture. If it were true that God wants us to be only holy, wouldn’t we expect Philippians 4:4 to say, “Be holy in the Lord always” instead of “Rejoice in the Lord always”?

Any understanding of God is utterly false if it is incompatible with the lofty and infinitely holy view of God in Ezekiel 1:26–28 and Isaiah 6:1–4, and of Jesus in Revelation 1:9–18. God is decidedly and unapologetically anti-sin, but he is in no sense anti-happiness. Indeed, holiness is exactly what secures our happiness. Charles Spurgeon said, “Holiness is the royal road to happiness. The death of sin is the life of joy.”

There is more at: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/randyalcorn/2021/03/common-christian-myths-happiness/

Our Most Destructive Assumption About Heaven

Article by Randy Alcorn

Of all the misconceptions we have about heaven, which is the most destructive? That’s a difficult and important question to tackle.

Once, while preaching about the new earth, I cited passages about feasting together in our resurrection bodies. Afterward, a veteran Bible student asked if I really believed we would eat and drink in the afterlife. I told him yes, since Jesus said so. Visibly shaken, he replied, “Engaging in physical activities in heaven sounds terribly unspiritual.” Standing there with a body God promised to raise, he was repulsed by the thought of living forever as a physical being in a material world.

And he’s not alone. Many Bible-believing Christians would die before denying the doctrine of the resurrection — and yet they don’t fully believe it.

I’ve dialogued with lifelong evangelicals who don’t understand what resurrection means. They really believe they will spend eternity as disembodied spirits. God’s revelation concerning the resurrection and the new earth — our forever home — eludes them. A Christian university professor wrote, “I was floored and dismayed to discover the vast majority of my students don’t believe in the bodily resurrection.” Some evangelicals even believe we become angels when we die.

If I could eliminate one belief about heaven, it would be the heresy that the physical world is an enemy of God’s redemptive plan rather than a central part of it.

Read more: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/our-most-destructive-assumption-about-heaven

What Does It Look Like to Be a Cross Bearer?

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/randyalcorn/2021/01/look-like-cross-bearer/

The Fruit of the Spirit Are Ingredients of Happiness

What’s our greatest source of joy? Paul pointed to the Holy Spirit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Commenting on chara, the Greek Word usually rendered “joy” in this passage, the United Bible Societies’ translation handbook advises, “In some languages joy is essentially equivalent to ‘causes people to be very happy.’ In order to indicate that this joy is not merely some passing experience, one may say ‘to be truly happy within their hearts.’ In some languages joy is expressed idiomatically as ‘to be warm within one’s heart,’ or ‘to dance within one’s heart.’”

Romans 8:28 May Be Often-Quoted and Even Misused, But May We Never Grow Tired of Its Precious Truth

Is it possible to overuse a verse of Scripture? Certainly it is easy to misuse a verse, and in the process be robbed of its true riches.

Romans 8:28 is one of the best known verses in the whole Bible: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Did I say this was one of the “best known” verses of Scripture? Let me revise that statement. It is one of the most often quoted verses of Scripture. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to quote a verse without really knowing it.

Read the rest: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/randyalcorn/2020/03/romans-828-precious-truth/

Love Is Not God: A.W. Tozer on How Equating Love With God Is a Major Mistake

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/336608-love-is-not-god-a-w-tozer-on-how-equating-love-with-god-is-a-major-mistake.html

Scripture Gives Us Many Reasons to Be Happy

BY RANDY ALCORN

When someone says, as many have, “Happiness isn’t in the Bible,” it’s not even slightly true. Even in versions that don’t frequently use the words happy and happiness, the concept is conspicuously present, not only in its many synonyms (see here and here), but in words such as contentmentpeacedelight, and dozens of others in every translation.

Consider this verse: “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love” (Micah 7:18). Such a passage may not seem to be about happiness, yet if we understand its meaning, won’t we be flooded with happiness?

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made known his salvation” (Psalm 98:1-2). There are no joy-related words in this verse, yet doesn’t it make you joyful?

Consider the lame man who leaped and praised God (see Acts 3:1-10).His story won’t appear in a study of words related to happiness, but he was obviously overwhelmed with happiness.

“We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). No word for happiness is mentioned here, but how does it make you feel to know that Jesus is your advocate, your defense attorney? Can you imagine Jesus standing between you and your accuser, Satan (see Revelation 12:10)? The thought makes me smile, rejoice, and praise God.

Every passage that mentions our redemption; our new nature in Christ; and God’s love, grace, and mercy also makes a profound statement about our grounds for happiness.