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The Covington News - - Religion -

Do you want real hap­pi­ness? Not the mo­men­tary fleet­ing plea­sure that so many mis­take for hap­pi­ness, but real, deep seated hap­pi­ness that can’t be touched?

Psalm 1 tells us how to ob­tain it: “ Happy are those who re­ject the ad­vice of evil peo­ple, who do not fol­low the ex­am­ple of sin­ners or join those who have no use for God.

In­stead, they find joy in obey­ing the law of the Lord, and they study it day and night. They are like trees that grow be­side a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They suc­ceed in ev­ery­thing they do. But evil peo­ple are not like this at all; they are like straw that the wind blows away.

Sin­ners will be con­demned by God and kept apart from God’s own peo­ple. The righ­teous are guided and pro­tected by the Lord, but the evil are on the way to their doom,” ( Psalm 1: 1- 6 TEV).

The first step to hap­pi­ness is to watch your as­so­ciates. I am alarmed at the num­ber of pro­fessed be­liev­ers who con­stantly seek out un­saved friends for coun­sel and ad­vice. How can they help you?

“ But the nat­u­ral man does not re­ceive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are fool­ish­ness to him; nor can he know them, be­cause they are spir­i­tu­ally dis­cerned,” ( 1 Corinthi­ans 2: 14 NKJV).

My per­sonal opin­ion is that the only rea­son a be­liever might seek the ad­vice of an un­be­liever is be­cause that be­liever is look­ing for jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to do some­thing he or she al­ready knows they ought not do.

Just a thought, but that thought is based on years of ex­pe­ri­ence and ob­ser­va­tion. What is not my opin­ion are the words of this Psalm, “ Happy are those who re­ject the ad­vice of evil peo­ple.” The Bi­ble warns, “ Don’t fool your­selves. Bad friends will de­stroy you,” ( 1 Corinthi­ans 15: 33, CEV).

As much as I like mod­ern trans­la­tions, there is still great value in the older, more tra­di­tional trans­la­tions.

When I mem­o­rized th­ese verses I did so in the King James Ver­sion ( which my son is con­vinced was the new­est trans­la­tion of my youth): “ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the coun­sel of the un­godly, nor standeth in the way of sin­ners, nor sit­teth in the seat of the scorn­ful.” Did you catch the down­ward spi­ral of this verse? First the in­di­vid­ual walks with the un­be­liever. The con­cept here is that this is where he or she finds their di­rec­tion; where they go for ad­vice and com­fort. The Hol­man Chris­tian Stan­dard Bi­ble trans­lates this por­tion of this Psalm, “ How happy is the man who does not fol­low the ad­vice of the wicked.”

The be­liever who seeks the ad­vice of un­be­liev­ers as they walk through life soon be­gins to settle in and find com­fort in th­ese wrong as­so­ci­a­tions and in wrong ac­tions. They take their stand with and be­gin even to sup­port is­sues they rec­og­nize as wrong. Yet they ex­pe­ri­ence not the slight­est twinge of con­scious. Why? They have lost their spir­i­tual sen­si­tiv­ity.

The fi­nal step down­ward is the per­son walks in the com­pany and coun­sel of the un­godly, then they take their stand with them, fi­nally they are set­ting down in fel­low­ship with “ those who have no use for God.”

The ques­tion be­fore us is, if you are a be­liever, where are you look­ing for hap­pi­ness? Where are you look­ing for ful­fill­ment? Where do you turn when you need ad­vice and guid­ance? Look in the wrong places and you will go down the wrong path to your own doom. Look to God and you will be firmly es­tab­lished.

If you are not a be­liever, let me state cat­e­gor­i­cally that there is no true, last­ing hap­pi­ness apart from God. You might find fleet­ing mo­ments of plea­sure, but you will not find true hap­pi­ness un­til you dis­cover God’s love and for­give­ness for your­self.

One fi­nal thing. This has noth­ing to do with ex­pe­ri­ence. Ex­pe­ri­ence and feel­ings will mis­lead you again and again.

We need to seek guid­ance in what Dr. Francis Scha­ef­fer called, “ True truth.” The ab­so­lute, in­fal­li­ble, in­errant word of God.

Dr. John Pear­rell is pas­tor of Gate­way Com­mu­nity Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Cov­ing­ton, GA 30016. Or e- mail him at john. pear­rell@ gate­way­commu­nity. org. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit the Gate­way Web site at www. gate­way­commu­nity. org

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