"He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.'" Luke 18:9-14
This parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector comes to a very unlikely conclusion when Jesus says that the tax collector went down to his home justified (declared righteous, made right with God, free).
Salvation involves moving from the indicative (that which has been accomplished; Romans 3:24-30, Romans 5:1) to the imperative (that which I am called to do; Romans 6:13-16, Colossians 1:22)
In the fight for happiness:
1. The gospel must always be central.
Q: What do you need to know in order to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
A: First, how great my sins and misery are; second, how I am delivered from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to be thankful to God for such deliverance. Heidelberg Catechism, Question 2
2. There is personal rejoicing in the obedience and pattern of living set by Jesus.
3. We must choose a deliberate, radical, and thoroughgoing imbalance in our daily living.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
4. We must repeatedly understand that because of the goodness of the Living God there are more blessings than battles, and that hope, victory, and certainty await. (Psalm 103:1-5)
5. We must practice Biblical art of meditation/scripture intake.
“I realize that God is a fountain of all wisdom and is communicating to us in His Word.”
Buster’s Happiness Bibliography
The Happy Christian by David Murray
Happiness by Randy Alcorn
Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything by Steve DeWitt
Practicing Affirmation by Sam Crabtree