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I’ve recently been reading a new book by Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering. In it, he says that the modern approach to happiness is to remove any and all suffering: avoid pain, or if you can’t, sedate it. But, as he points out, “No amount of money, power, and planning can prevent bereavement, dire illness, relationship betrayal, financial disaster, or a host of other troubles from entering your life. Human life is fatally fragile and subject to forces beyond our power to manage.

Many Christians are hesitant to talk about happiness that bluntly. We put a glib smile on and think that “letting go and letting God” should make everything all better. But the Bible gives a more nuanced perspective. It recognizes the dark reality of life and offers an answer for it.

An illustration in Psalm 1 compares a happy life to a flourishing tree, which assumes that life goes through seasons. There will be summer seasons when everything is going well, but there will also be winter seasons and droughts that threaten to starve us. If our strategy for happiness is staying in the “summer season” of our lives, then when our circumstances change for the worse—and, at some point, they will change—our happiness will disappear.

We need something deeper than circumstances. We need roots that go deep into the gospel, so that in the winter of loneliness, in the drought of depression, in the storms of temptation, our soul will remain steadfast.

Psalm 1 gives us two ways to drive our roots deep into the gospel:

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Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading around the web.

Video of the Week

“Theological Imperialism and the Black Community,” Lecrae, Trip Lee, & Eric Mason.

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Heresy can be what you believe, but perhaps just as often, heresy is the weight you give an issue you believe. “Fundamentalism” might be understood, in part, as too much weight given to certain aspects of Christian doctrine or practice (the word fundamentalism, historically, doesn’t mean that, but in common parlance that is how it might be understood). Some people give such enormous weight to minor issues that the gospel itself is obscured.

Calvinism is one such issue. We only have so much “bandwidth” as a church, so I choose rather to be known for the gospel than for a tough stance on particulars of Calvinism that are less important than the heart of the message.

So at The Summit Church, I often say, “Calvinism is not an issue to me until it becomes one to you. But when it becomes one to you, it becomes one to me… and I’ll probably take whatever side you are not.” What someone believes about the finer points of Calvinism is not usually the issue; it’s how they believe it. We may have trouble achieving absolute clarity together on every one of the “five points,” but we can be absolutely clear on the fact that the Bible condemns a divisive and uncharitable spirit over something about which gospel-loving Christians have historically had trouble finding complete agreement.

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