The Search for Happiness - Gospel in Life

The Search for Happiness

Tim Keller |  September 12, 1993

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  • The Bible
Psalm 1
RS 45-01

Understanding Joy through Psalm 1

The Bible’s view on joy is very different from the contemporary focus on fact-finding and technology. According to the Bible, genuine happiness comes from things beyond our physical world that have remained the same over the ages. To understand the Bible’s view on joy, we need to understand the principles in Psalm 1.

1. Joy can be achieved

Being blessed, which includes joy, fulfillment, and contentment, can be achieved, even though life experiences might make us skeptical. Many people think happiness naturally occurs, but life’s challenges can make us think it is hard to find. The Christian faith, however, says that we can always find joy, even though we may make mistakes along the way.

2. Joy is deep, not shallow

The Bible’s joy is deep and comes from our relationship with God, not from things happening around us. It is a lasting happiness that we can feel even when we are going through hard times, not just when things are fun. This happiness is not about controlling what happens around us, but about being loyal to God. This is symbolized by a tree planted by a river that remains nourished, whether it is bearing fruit or not.

3. Joy is not directly achieved

Joy comes indirectly when we prioritize something more important, like doing what is right. When we put anything above God and His righteousness, we become unhappy. The more we serve God and less we focus on our happiness, the more content we become.

4. Joy is a choice

True joy comes when we decide to change our loyalty and find our identity in God. This means letting go of the things that control us and finding joy in the main message of the Bible – God gave his Son so we could become His children. This journey allows us to feel both sadness and joy at the same time, as we share in the world’s pain yet celebrate the hope of the gospel.


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Galatians is a powerful book that shows how people can think they know the gospel but are actually losing touch with it. In this study of the book of Galatians, Dr. Keller helps you understand how this short book in the New Testament can transform your life.