What does God want from me?

Autumn 22

Our thinking about life with God inevitably confronts us with this crucial question: What does God want from me? When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he answered clearly: love God with all you have. If we asked Jesus, What does God want from me? I believe he would answer, God wants you to know and to love him. This narrative tells of a God who is loving and merciful, whose desire is to love and to be loved. This in no way negates the fact that God is unflinchingly against sin. God hates sin because it hurts his children. But God is crazy about his children.

The Westminster Larger Catechism, written in 1648, opens with a question and an answer:

Question: What is the chief and highest end of man?

Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.

I love the concept of fully enjoying God forever. Do you think that God wants you to enjoy him? Though many people do not believe this, I think it is what God most wants. Julian of Norwich once wrote: “The greatest honor we can give God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” That statement shocked me when I first read it. The greatest honor we can give God? Isn’t it to die for him on the mission field? Julian offers another narrative: “What God most wants is to see you smile because you know how much God loves you.” My mission-field narrative does not describe a God I would naturally love. Julian’s narrative tells me of a God I cannot help but love. The God Julian knew is a God who delights in us.

—James Bryan Smith,
The Good and Beautiful God

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The Pursuit of Happiness

God and happiness

Provocative Joy

Dancing 7

Rejoice in the Lord.
A highly provocative act
of sabotage, defiant toward…
principalities and powers,
that we all can perpetrate today.

–Ray Ortlund‏

Published in: on 12/08/2017 at 15:10  Leave a Comment  
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On the Path of Life

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Published in: on 01/13/2017 at 9:39  Leave a Comment  
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Made to Run on Divine Fuel

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God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.

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That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

–C. S. Lewis,
Mere Christianity

Reverence and Rejoicing

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It is fascinating to notice how Scripture often combines “furious opposites.” The psalm, for instance, that says, “The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble” is found right alongside another that declares, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth” (Psa. 99:1; 100:1). This God evokes both holy trembling and happy shouting. He inspires dread and delight (Psa. 2:11). In his presence we are constrained not only to bow down but also to dance, to be awestruck and joy-filled. It makes for a great mix. Here is worship that motivates holiness and happiness. It frees us from the extremes of frivolity and frigidity, of emotionalism and formalism. Neither reverence or rejoicing should be absent. A fascinating and powerful combination.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

Delighting in Christ

Beautiful-Sunset-Mountain-Wallpapers-3-300x300Anyone can use the word, of course, but without Christ holiness tends to have all the charm of an ingrown toenail. For, very simply, if holiness is not first and foremost about knowing Christ, it will be about self-produced morality and religiosity. But such incurved self-dependence is quite the opposite of what pleases God, or what is actually beautiful.

God is not interested in our manufactured virtue; he does not want any external obedience or morality if it does not flow from true love for him. He wants us to share his pleasure in his Son. What is the greatest commandment, after all? “Love the Lord your God” (Mt 22:36–37). That is the root of true God-likeness. Nothing is more holy than a heartfelt delight in Christ. Nothing is so powerful to transform lives.

–Michael Reeves
Christ Our Life

Two lessons to learn

Stephen Darbishire 1940 - British Interiors and Landscape painter - Tutt'Art@ (18)

There are but two lessons
for the Christian to learn:
the one is to enjoy
God in everything;
the other is to enjoy
everything in God.

–Charles Simeon
(1759–1836)

Artwork: Stephen Darbishire

Reason to rejoice

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God is the one
who helps us, who accepts us,
who brings us holiness
in our unholiness.
In this God we may and can
and must rejoice.

–Karl Barth

Art: Stephen Darbishire

Published in: on 11/26/2014 at 2:18  Leave a Comment  
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The fundamental problem

waterfall Tangle_Creek_Falls,_Jasper_National_Park

I am persuaded that all of your problems
are conceived and born in the sinful belief
that something or someone other than Jesus Christ
can quench the thirst of our souls.

–C. Samuel Storms

Finding freedom

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Freedom comes when we encounter God . . . Knowing God, His character, how much He loves us, how trustworthy He is, causes us to worship and take pleasure in Him. We’re now forgiven and can draw near to God. We’re new creations whose core identity is no longer sinner but saint. We have a new appetite within us, a desire for God that is stronger than every other desire, waiting to be discovered and nourished.

–Larry Crabb
Shattered Dreams

Delight and desire

You called and cried out loud
and shattered my deafness.
You were radiant and resplendent,
you put to flight my blindness.
You were fragrant,
and I drew in my breath
and now pant after you.
I tasted you, and I feel
but hunger and thirst for you.
You touched me,
and I am set on fire to attain
the peace which is yours.

–Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430)

Eternal expansion of joy

Our experience of God will never reach its consummation. We will never finally arrive, as if upon reaching a peak we discover there is nothing beyond.

Our experience of God
will never become stale.
It will deepen and develop,
intensify and amplify,
unfold and increase,
broaden and balloon.

Our relishing and rejoicing in God will sharpen and spread and extend and progress and mature and flower and blossom and widen and stretch and swell and snowball and inflate and lengthen and augment and advance and proliferate and accumulate and accelerate and multiply and heighten and reach a crescendo that will even then be only the beginning of an eternity of new and fresh insights into the majesty of who God is!

–Sam Storms

Finding satisfaction

God is most honored by us,
when we are most satisfied in Him.

“If anyone is thirsty,
let him come to me and drink.”
John 7:37

Published in: on 09/30/2011 at 9:21  Leave a Comment  
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Joy in God

The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here . . . (These) are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the ocean.

–Jonathan Edwards

Published in: on 09/19/2011 at 23:03  Leave a Comment  
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