Summary: THE PURSUIT OF TRUE PLEASURE IN LIFE.
Recently I’ve had a desire to do catch-up between my soul and God. In part because I’ve wanted renewal as a pastor to grow in the depths of my own experience with God. But also because in a very short time I’m going to be fathering a young life. I realize it’s more than “how to’s” but what we impart of who we are.
Caused me to look at areas in me where I recognize I’m operating outside the grace of God; less gracious with myself or others… to look at my passion… priorities… my values.
Directed me to a fundamental issue of life, THE PURSUIT OF TRUE PLEASURE IN LIFE.
- a time of looking more deeply into God’s word as I said ‘Lord, teach me about bringing a child into this world and guiding them in their desires. Lord teach me about experiencing even deeper pleasure in you.’
Question: How important is the role of desire in your relationship to God?
- To answer that question, I want to offer a theology of desire because if we understand this book (Bible) properly its my contention that its all about desire.
- What is God saying to us about desire as a whole?
- I believe there is a clarity of truth that is uniquely captured in the breadth of God’s revelation to us.
- To help capture that breadth I’ve included a number of scriptures and quotes to follow.
Begin with the words of King David,
- A man who represents the best of God’s people… the best response to God’s history of initially raising up a people
- Exceptional physique/looks; power, wealth
o Fell to lust
o Freely felt depression
- Kept himself bolstered above both reckoning with his sin and living with his depression and established the greatest reign Israel ever knew… both publicly as ruler and privately “as a man after God’s own heart.”
- HOW? The key lies in the many directions he gave his soul.
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
The first and perhaps most obvious truth of all,
1. God is intended to be our ultimate desire.
- Though David had it all… ideal looks, power and wealth, David established in his soul that God is the ultimate source of satisfaction. He would set his desire on Him and let him be the source of all other desires in his heart.
- David understood that we are born of god and only he can fulfill us.
- There is an inherent connection between our souls and God like fish need water, like our bodies need oxygen and blood; so our spiritual nature exists in relationship to our ultimate source… God.
- As such David rightly directs his soul, and ours as well, to “serve” God? No… to acknowledge God? No… to honor God? No… TO DELIGHT IN GOD.
- While all these others are true, they flow from a deeper recognition that God is to be desired.
…As one author noted in the Psalms
“My soul thirsts for thee, my flesh yearns for thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1) The motif of thirsting has its satisfying counterpoint when the psalmist says that men drink their fill of the abundance of thy house; and thou dost give them to drink of the river of thy delights. (Psalm 36:8) I found that the goodness of God, the very foundation of worship, is not a thing you pay your respects to out of some kind of disinterested reverence. No, it is something to be enjoyed: O taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8) How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)
As C.S. Lewis says, God in the Psalms is the “all satisfying Object.” His people adore him unashamedly for the exceeding joy they find in him. (Psalm 43:4) He is the source of complete and unending pleasure: In thy presence is fullness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11)” (John Piper)
Honoring God is not just about being
- honorable, but being happy
- faithful, but being fulfilled
- denying desires, but deepening them
It might surprise us, but God sees our duty as most naturally flowing from our desires when rightly understood.
- I don’t want your burnt offerings and sacrifices born of empty obligation… rather a contrite and humble heart.
- I don’t want your obligation, I want your desperation
o Obligation leads to legalism… distance
o Desperation leads to love… devotion
- Hiking in the mountains… compelled by the underlying message of Christ’s life. ‘God, I want to live like only you matter’ As the Lord spoke to my heart “I want to be everything to you because I am everything.”