We R Renewing!
Last weeks blog post (Rocking) was my attempt to show you from the Bible that we should be excited about Jesus. Today we dig deeper and recognize that there are times when we are not bouncin’ and times where we are a debbie downer…it is during these times that we must recognize who we are, what we are supposed to be, and the meaning to our lives.
C.S. Lewis said…. There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious.
This is a serious post about being happy in God. It’s about joy, contentment, and meaning found in Christ alone that God wants for you.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
But the truth is that in this life we have hard times, and go thru difficult times. The Apostle Paul wrote…
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. II Timothy 3:12
Globally it is increasingly plain that the body of Christ does go through suffering and tough times. This gives increasing reason and meaning to the true statement…
God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him because the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Here is what this means personally…
A few years ago I was going thru a difficult time. My wife was 8 months pregnant and on the doctors operating table. My first son to be born had no heart beat, and my wife was given a 50/50 chance of making it thru the operation…a so-called friend called me and told me that the trial I was going through was all my fault for the decision of moving to Detroit to start a church. The doctor we had was a rude imbecile, I was alone, I was hungry, I had bills up to my neck, and no one to turn too.
I remember the moment, the exact spot in the hall way. I remember the lousy chair that was ripped and the Coke Machine that didn’t have Coke. I remember the moment that I looked up to God and said “there must be a reason for all this.” I wiped away a tear, I manned up by becoming like a child with faith. The surgery was successful, my son was born, my wife is in great health, the small church plant is thriving.
I became a Christian Hedonist. A hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain). But not a vain self seeking lover of myself…but rather a seeker of God. It is moments of despair that many turn many turn to vain methods or mantras to fix the problems. A Christian Hedonist sees it differently.
“All men seek happiness, this is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” -Blaise Pascal
Pascal is right. And, with Pascal, we believe God purposefully designed us to pursue happiness. True happiness is found in pleasing God and when God is pleased. As Christians we believe that
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him because the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
We all make a “god” out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists are Christians who want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure—pleasure in him. I do not mean that our happiness is the highest good or the highest achievement, but rather that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end.
We should pursue God, we should have a passion for God. We should desire God with all our might. We do this by understanding some big truths about how our Christianity should be more about delight than duty. With this in mind our perspective changes from self-satisfying to Savior-satisfying.
- Don’t Be Too Easily Satisfied
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Our society is pleased to easily by sex, toys, cars and materialism. We are happy when we have good health and sad when we are sick. We are happy when we have full stomachs and sad when we don’t have enough. But faith is what pleases God. If we are satisfied by pleasing God…than this is the reason why so many are empty, always searching, have that empty feeling inside that booze, drugs, friends, awards, and religion cannot fill. The problem is that too many are easily satisfied.
We need a fresh way of looking at the world and ourselves. We do this by hitting the refresh button. Take a fresh look at your life and…
- Renew Your Faith
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. I Peter 5:10
Scripture reveals to us that the great business of our lives is to glorify God by enjoying Him. We will suffer, but God will restore us. We must renew our convictions, we must build our life on the following five truths (thanks to “Desiring God” by John Piper):
- The longing to be happy is a universal human experience and it is good, not sinful.
- We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead, we should seek to intensify this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest and most enduring satisfaction.
- The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God.
- The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it is shared with others in the manifold ways of love.
- To the extent that we try to abandon the pursuit of our own pleasure, we fail to honor God and love people. Or, to put it positively: The pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and virtue. The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
There are a thousand man-made philosophies of life that all take you down the same road. This is not another dead end theory. There is only one rock: the Word of God. There is only one thing that ultimately matters: glorifying God the way He has appointed. To make it through the tough times, and to make it through the good times…we must be Renewing. We must be consumed with pleasing God. We must desire God with all of who we are and desire to be.
After my son was born, I was allowed to go see my first born son. I went in proud and beaming. There sat a “little me.” After holding him for a few minutes…I paused for a moment of reflection to learn the lesson before me. Twenty-four hours before I was wreck. Twenty-four hours before I was in panic mode. Then it hit me…twenty-four hours ago God was just fine. It was me that was screwed up, me that had little faith. It was I who was doubting. I prayed, I asked for forgiveness for letting panic and worry get between me and my faith in God. I recognized that if God had saved my son or had allowed them to die…my purpose was still in God not me, my life or even my son or my wife.
My life is to bring God glory and if for God to get glory I don’t get what I want but rather get what He wants so that God gets the glory…so be it. Desiring God glorified in my life should be my chief end. Renewing!