The Happy Life

There is a delight which is given not to the wicked, but to those who worship you for no reward save the joy that you yourself are to them. That is the authentic happy life, to set one's joy on you, grounded in you and caused by you. That is the real thing, and there is no other. Those who think that the happy life is found elsewhere, pursue another joy and not the true one.

Saint Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 198-199.

The Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ

Augustine reflecting on his conversion from a life of pride and sexual immorality to faith in Christ:

Suddenly it had become sweet to me to be without the sweets of folly. What I once feared to lose was now a delight to dismiss. You turned them out and entered to take their place, pleasanter than any pleasure but not to flesh and blood, brighter than all light yet more inward than any secret recess, higher than any honour but not to those who think themselves sublime. Already my mind was free of 'the biting cares' of place-seeking, of desire for gain, of wallowing in self-indulgence, of scratching the itch of lust. And I was now talking with you, Lord my God, my radiance, my wealth, and my salvation.1

His words remind me of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11, ESV).

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  1. Saint Augustine, Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 155. []

Style vs. Substance

Fine style does not make something true, nor has a man a wise soul because he has a handsome face and well-chosen eloquence.

Augustine, Confessions (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 78.

All in Christ

Martyn Lloyd-Jones commenting on Philippians 3:3:

There is nothing that the soul of man can need in time or eternity but that it is all in Christ. You need pardon? There it is. You need reconciliation to God? The man Christ Jesus is the one and only mediator between God and man. You need new life and a new nature? You receive it from him. You need strength and power? He sent the Holy Spirit that you might have it. You need an Advocate with the Father? There he is, seated at the right hand of God. You tremble at the thought of death and of going to face God in the judgment? You are assured that you will be clothed with his righteousness and he will present you spotless. What else do you need? He is everything: Prophet, Priest and King, the All in all.

The Life of Joy and Peace: An Exposition of Philippians (Grand Rapids:Baker, 1999), 273-274.