In this episode:
- Don’t forget to become a Theodio Premier Subscriber. Offer ends when 2020 comes to a close.
- Comparing the world’s definition of happiness with the Bible’s
- The relevant segment of our original Precious Remedies audiobook recording
- Episode blog post: The blessedness of unhappiness
- Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo and marque: Jeff Lyons at Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
Welcome back to the Theodio Podcast. I’m your host, Dan Kassis.
If you missed our last episode, we talked about resisting the devil as an exercise in spiritual growth. We noted that resistance builds strength in other areas of life. It helps our souls as well.
This time we’ll look at the eighth device Thomas Brooks identifies that Satan uses to draw believers into sin. This device is the exact opposite of the first device, which was to present sin as attractive and desirable while hiding its bad consequences.
If that doesn’t work, our enemy might try to show us that it’s when we don’t sin that we end up being miserable. Sneaky, isn’t it?
Happiness vs. blessedness
The pursuit of happiness is enshrined in American, and by the extent of her influence, to Western civilization. The Declaration of Independence lists it as one of three unalienable rights with which the Creator endows human beings.
Today we think of happiness as primarily emotional, a pleasant state of being generally connected to our circumstances and state in life. But there’s a good chance it meant something more in the late 18th century.
Think of how older English Bible translations tend to render the “blessed” of Jesus’ beatitudes as “happy.” These Bibles often translate the “blessed” of Psalm 1 (Hebrew “chesed”) as “happy” also. We know from their contexts these passages must speak of something deeper than mere happiness.
And they do. Blessedness is independent of one’s circumstances or emotions. It may derive from personal decisions, but it does not always include comfort or complete well-being. Think of how the Lord told us we are blessed when we are persecuted or receive harsh words because of our faith in Him. We won’t be prone to happiness in such situations.
Blessedness is the goal. Happiness may be its fruit.
A long obedience in the same direction
According to Thomas Brooks as he writes of Satan’s eighth device to lure Christians into sin, our enemy wants to convince us happiness is the goal and blessedness is negotiable. Sin may make us happy. But it can never leave us blessed. The happiness of sin is temporal. But the blessedness of holiness and obedience is eternal.
Brooks’ remedies here intend to help us put our focus back on the long game, toward the steady “obedience in the same direction” that marks Christian life. We must choose persecution, suffering, and yes even unhappiness if that will lead to blessedness in the eyes of Christ.
This is a hard truth, but one worth learning. Let’s listen to Thomas Brooks now.
All the good with which God has blessed us. All the mercies with which he has endowed us. Let’s be faithful in the end not to have treated them lightly.
As usual, there’s a blog post on Theodio that accompanies this segment of the book. It’s titled “The Blessedness of Unhappiness.” You’ll find a link to it in the show notes.
Next time we’ll discuss device 9: presenting the hardships of living the Christian life to discourage us. There’s a lot to share. We hope you won’t miss it. Thanks for listening