What do you enjoy? What experiences or things of this life do you enjoy most? Would you enjoy business success or financial gain? Do you enjoy a delicious meal from your favorite restaurant? I’m sure, like me, you would certainly enjoy a big bowl of ice cream on a hot summer day, or an icy-cold glass of lemonade after a long day’s work.
Would you enjoy owning a brand-new sports car, say a late model Ferrari or a Lamborghini Diablo? Or more realistically, would you enjoy a ridiculously fun job that meets your bills and maintains a decent standard of living for your family – how about being a toy and game designer for children? Would you enjoy a romantic evening with your spouse? Or that soft “kiss goodnight”? Maybe you would really enjoy traveling to exotic or beautifully remote locations like Alaska, Peru, New Zealand, Switzerland, or Nepal? I know I certainly would.
Or perhaps you would simply enjoy coming home to an orderly house with the family all residing in quiet, peaceful harmony. Maybe you would enjoy spending more time with your aging parents or close siblings who live out-of-state. For me, I love the simple joy of coming home to the sight of Hudson peeking out the window with a big smile on his face – all the while hearing him shout, “Daddy’s home!” There is pure enjoyment in the warmth of a child’s love.
We could go on and name two or three more dozen items or experiences that we would enjoy – and it probably wouldn’t take more than 5 short minutes. We know what we enjoy and we seek after the fulfillment of our tastes.
Built for Pleasure
We are built as beings seeking after enjoyment, happiness, and pleasure. All men, women, and children seek happiness. As Blaise Pascal wrote, “This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end [seek happiness].” But is seeking enjoyment or happiness wrong? Are we supposed to muddle along through life with a whip at our side, ready to beat ourselves into painful suffering if we enjoy life too much? Obviously, the answer is no.
Yet, there remains a problem. We are driven by a desire for something more. Like most people, you and I are driven to fill our enjoyment factor or desire quotient with something or someone that will never bring lasting joy or fulfillment.
Can we honestly say we find our greatest enjoyment and pleasure in God Himself? If we are around church friends and family, oh yes! You and I would repeat the memorized lingo.
The Hinge of Enjoyment
However, I believe you and I know, in the depths of our souls, that we find most of our enjoyment outside of God. You see, the problem is not love, joy or pleasure. We were built by God to seek these things. The crux of the matter is what we find to be the object and source of our joy or pleasure. This is the hinge on which our purpose for living hangs. Who or what we enjoy most shows what we believe to be the purpose for our existence. So, I ask myself, “Am I enjoying God Himself more than anything else?”
I know what my answer should be. But I’m not sure I can always give an honest, affirmative answer to this question. I wonder, is my relationship with God so limited and shortsighted that I am not finding all the pleasure and delight available in Him?
The God Factor
The godly, revered authors of the Westminster Shorter Catechism wrote, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Do I really enjoy God above all right now and look forward to an eternity dwelling in the delight of Him alone?
But then we must wonder, maybe the problem is who we know God to be. Perhaps you view God as a mean-spirited dictator who demands your duty – well performed and punctual to the timeline. Or perhaps you view God as a hateful judge who is scrutinizing your every move so he can keep your eternal rewards as slim as possible. Maybe you think God is vindictive, unforgiving, and narcissistic. Or like me, you have thought God loves you more or less depending on your daily actions. However, all of these views of God are aberrant or incomplete.
Getting God Straight
I am moved by how King David described his relationship with God:
“I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 6:8-11; see also 34:8; 36:8; 37:4; 42:1-2; 63:1; 73:25; Isa 12:12; Luke 2:10; John 10:10; Phil 4:4; Rev. 21:3-4)
Notice what David does not say. He does not say, “I have set the LORD always before me, so that he will love me more.” David does not announce, “He is at my right hand watching my every move, therefore, I am shaking with fear that I might make a mistake.” No, David views God correctly and fully. God is the source of His joy and pleasure. David has recognized that in God alone is true and full satisfaction. Therefore, he cannot contain himself! He has experienced the true pleasure and joy found in God alone, and his heart is filled with praise. Because David fully enjoy God, the Lord was made known through his life.
Because David fully enjoyed God, the Lord was made known through his life.
This is how God is glorified – this is how He is made known. When we fully grasp who God is and the joy and delight of Him, then and only then is He glorified! To tweak an old adage, you can’t put the mommy in front of the stroller. Our enjoyment of God is the means by which He is glorified. Pastor John Piper proclaims it this way: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
This is the same reason why the apostle Paul boldly instructed the church in Philippi to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Phil 4:4). Even though Paul was under house arrest in Rome and far from his friends – he had found the enjoyment of God to be satisfying.
This is what it looks like now - in the present. But the pleasures of God are not just for “now” – they are also “forever” and even better! The glimpse we have caught in this present age will be finally and fully realized when Christ returns to reign on the earth forever:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, or crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).
Pleasure, joy, and peace in God are the promises of Christ for His people. We are to be driven by desire – the desire of God. This is why we exist. This is why we are here. We exist to make God known by enjoying Him - all the time. So I ask you and myself, have we truly begun to live for God’s glory? Have we found in Him immense joy and pleasure?
As I mentioned, who or what we enjoy most shows what we believe to be the purpose for our existence. Do we enjoy the pleasures of Christ and the joy of grace more than anything else?
Maybe you are still trying to fill the “desire quotient” with items or experiences that won’t last. Perhaps you are attempting to be satisfied through temporary pleasure, power, or possessions. Most of us have fallen into this never-ending cycle. But with King David and the Apostle Paul, I want to declare to you that God Himself – a relationship with Him through Christ – is the only thing that will ultimately satisfy. God in Christ has offered an end to the journey for pleasure. In Him alone is found the pleasure you’ve been seeking. God has invited us to enjoy Him. Will you accept?
In Christ Alone,