Summary: You had enjoyed food and friendships and being productive and investments and vacations and hobbies and reading and shopping and sports and TV and travel … but not God.
Today, we launch a new series, Seven Practices of a Healthy Christian. This series fits nicely after talking through Creed for the summer. First, we discussed our creed and now our deeds. Beliefs always precede our behavior. You can find today’s sermon notes on YouVersion and go to “Live event.” Tweet with the hashtag: #faithathome.
For some of you who have seen The Harry Potter movies, you’re familiar with the Mirror of Erised. The Mirror of Erised was in the first book and in the first movie. It is a mirror that shows the deepest and most desperate desires of one’s heart. Erised is the word desire spelled backwards. Harry Potter stumbles upon the classroom where the mirror was being stored. Upon looking into it, Harry saw himself surrounded by his dead parents and relatives. He saw several smiling family members. Harry’s family died when he was an infant. In the mirror, he sees his family loving him and looking at him. On his next midnight visit to the mirror, he brought Ronald Weasley, hoping to show him his family. However, Ron saw himself, as he a sports champion. Every single person places their ultimate hope in something and everyone sees something different in the mirror. Whatever controls us is our Lord.
We’ve chosen one verse to highlight worship: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). My aim this morning is to convince you of this one big idea: The reward of Christian Discipline Is Fueled by a Delight in Jesus Christ.
There are two words missing from the lips of many Christians in our day: consistency and constancy. Constancy and consistency. Christianity is not fueled by duty. Offering the Christ of the cross the roses of worship because you must is not what fuels Christian worship. A begrudging passion for your spouse doesn’t honor your spouse. And a dutiful pursuit of God doesn’t honor Him. When a couple falls in love there are hormonal fireworks. But in marriage they must cultivate delight in one another. It is the consistent, persistent, faithful, intentional, affectionate pursuit of one another during better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and healthy times that cultivates a capacity for delight in each other far deeper and richer than the fireworks phase. Similarly, the practices are one of the ways we cultivate delight in God.
Many days your walk with Christ may seem mundane. But we will be surprised at the CUMULATIVE power these seven disciplines have to deepen our love for and awareness of Him. But it’s fitting to focus on worship first because it’s the zenith of Christianity. The furnace of Christian worship is fueled by overwhelming pursuit of pleasure in God Himself. Christianity is fueled on the high-octane rocket fuel called delight. Healthy Christian growth in godliness doesn’t primarily come from trying harder but from cultivated desire for Christ. Desire to please God is the power for the Christian life. Godly people are seen as yearning, longing, hungering, thirsting, and fainting for God. They are seen as enjoying, delighting in, and being satisfied in God.
1. Conversion Begins Your Spiritual Taste for God
You had enjoyed food and friendships and being productive and investments and vacations and hobbies and reading and shopping and sports and TV and travel … but not God. He was an idea – even a good one – and a topic for discussion. But he was not a treasure of delight. All of this changed at your conversion. Your conversion marks the first time you were in the presence of God. And your cravings for Him have been awakened. Your desire for Him – no matter how small – has been awakened when you were converted to Christ. And the truth is that a believer’s heart and soul will always crave more of God than he presently experiences. Your conversion marks your freedom.
It’s a freedom to leave the pleasures of this world for a greater pleasure – a Being who is more infinitely desirable than the nicest homes DFW has to offer. Remember, Desire to please God is the power for the Christian life. Again, my aim this morning is to convince you of this one big idea: The reward of Christian discipline is fueled by a delight in Jesus Christ.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).
Christianity is fueled on the high-octane rocket fuel called delight. At your conversion, your new life’s goal is to see and savor “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4b). The Holy Spirit converts you and it is He that makes the fuel of your worship white-hot. The truth of the Bible causes you to be born again and Scripture is the furnace that causes your worship to be alive and warm.