Pursuing Our Deepest Joy in the Glory of God

 In Pursuing the Glory of God, We Pursue Four Things”

1) The deepest understanding of, and gratitude for, the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ in whose face, and in whose cross, we see most clearly the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

This is why “in Jesus Christ” must be a part of the sentence: We are Passionately Pursuing the Glory of God and Our Joy in Jesus Christ.

We are gospel people! – God forbid that we should glory in anything other than the cross of our Lord Jesus!

2) Being a reflection of His glory – walk, work, love, create, give – reflect His glory!

3) Corporate Worship that magnifies His glory and welcomes His presence.  – I am not suggesting that we become driven by emotion or enamored with experiences – but I trust we are not content with just laying our gifts upon the altar as if the veil of the temple is still intact!  No! May we have participation with anticipation – may we open our hearts and welcome the work of the Spirit as God makes His omnipresence –  manifest to us as He chooses. We may be stirred to heights of joy – and a shout of victory – we may be moved to great peace and assurance of His nearness, we may be moved to tears and repentance or deep gratitude or a pregnant silence of adoration  – but we will not settle for a lack of engagement with the God who loves us. Worship is not a one way street, it is engaging with God. It is not giving God glory OR enjoying His presence – it is both!

It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men. – C.S. Lewis

4) The fullness of Our Joy!

Why does David long and faint for the courts of the Lord? For the sake of God alone? From some completely selfless place of sacrificial honor of God?

The language in David’s songs indicate that there is deep joy and satisfaction in his worship of God:

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:9 ESV)

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. – (Psalm 63:5-8 ESV)

Pursuing our happiness and God’s glory do not conflict with one another!

Happiness is what we seek – it’s part of how we are created!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

“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…”- Blaise Pascal Pascal’s Pensees, Thought #425, E.P. Dutton, 1958, p. 113.

The problem that we face is not that we want happiness – the problem is that we don’t want happiness enough – we settle for imitations and substitutes – we settle for junk and confuse it with joy.

This is what leads to what the Bible calls idolatry – Idolatry is a dead end!  Idolatry takes shape in all kinds of ways and delivers momentary pleasure or satisfaction or distraction – but whatever it is that we treasure more than God can never meet the deep, deep desire for happiness that our soul craves. Why do we resist God’s laws and pursue our own sinful strategies? Because we foolishly believe that we can do better at securing our happiness than God can – and so we settle.

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased” – C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, Eerdmans, 1965, p. 1-2.

DOES GOD CARE ABOUT OUR NEEDS? Our concerns? Family? Etc.?

Of course! But to make any of these things “ultimate” in our lives it to miss the deepest and richest soul satisfaction. Nothing of this world’s treasures can compare with seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

God wants to be our joy! Our delight! He is not commanding us to misery in following Him, He is inviting us to know the deepest depths of joy in Him.

Yes, it’s all about Him – but He is glorified in You more, when you are happiest in Him and so He is committed to your happy satisfaction in Him.