Devotions from James Smith book, The Good and Beautiful Life

“The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown use to thinking, in prospering….but in the development of the soul.” Solzhenistsyn

We all want to be happy but happiness is based on external circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is an inner disposition not based on external circumstances.

The world gives us a false meaning and wants us to adopt the narrative that happiness comes from sex, money and power.

Our author gives 6 ways to ruin your life without even trying. Based on Romans 1:18-32

1, The turn away: I want to be God.. This is when we refuse to let God be God and do not honor Him

2. The mind darkens. It becomes dim as it rejects the truth and reality that God gives.

3. Idolatry: We must have a god and it can be anything we invest our lives in, in order to gain pleasure, happiness and a false senses of purpose. The idol serves us by giving us our desire, and we serve it by sacrificing our life energy to it.

4. God leaves us alone: Unless we turn back to God we push forward in our idolatry and God gives us up to the lusts of our hearts.

5. Pleasure is pursued at all costs. Disconnected from reality and on our own, we find the way to fulfillment through temporary things like sex, pornography, food, drugs etc. Each time we engage in these activities, the pleasure decreases and then it requires greater frequency.

6.  Sin reigns. Sin and wickedness become the normative behavior.  When we reject God we try to replace Him with things that cannot satisfy like what is found in Rom. 1:28-31

“Sin is ugly; genuine virtue is always beautiful.”  A virtuous person is a light to everyone around them. Virtue leads to life and greater strength.