You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
One of the most brilliant minds the USA has ever produced was Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). Christians and non-Christians alike all acknowledge this man’s greatness. Edwards was a minister of the Gospel and saw great revival under his ministry.
Writing on one occasion Edwards penned the following.
“The enjoyment of [God] is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.
To go to heaven, to fully enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.
Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance.
These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean.”
For Christians in the western world there is great competition for our attention by the luxuries we see all around us. Advertising lures us to the marketplace to buy the latest gadgets and toys. It is not enough that our cars all have air conditioning, we want automatic air so that we merely set the temperature and computers turn on the air or heater depending on the outside temperature. Then we are told that we can have cars with multiple controls for the air-conditioning. Passengers have their own controls to grant them the greatest comfort.
How ridiculous have we become! Imagine how self-indulgent we are with all of our modern marvels. We have made our heaven here on earth! What need do we have for something better than what the western world offers?
Who needs God for our pleasure when western society offers so much here and now? This is exactly our trouble. When I travelled to the poorest countries in the world it was remarkable to me to witness people in extreme poverty singing the praises of their God. These poor people sang with passion, sincerity and exuberant joy. Witnessing them worship amazed me. Never in western society have I seen such singular devotion to the Lord.
Can we say with the Psalmist, Psalm 73:25 (NIV)
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”
For many of us there is altogether too much to desire in this life to give the Lord much space on the horizon of our desires. The latest fashion in clothes, newer, more optioned cars, bigger houses with more expensive furniture—on it goes. Who really needs the Lord when we can have what this world offers?
Enter suffering—and quickly enough we are brought to our knees seeking the mercy and grace of God. Stores do not stock mercy, grace and peace of heart. Only at the cross of Christ can such commodities be found.
What do you enjoy the most in life? What are you willing to give up in order to have the felt presence of the Lord in your life? Do you really enjoy the Lord above all things? Is He truly your treasure of great price? If not seek Him today and beg His forgiveness, urge Him to forgive you for such a distorted outlook on life. Come to Him and say, “You oh, Lord are all I want. Come and make your home with me today.” He will hear and He will answer.