What gives joy? Is it family? Creativity? Sports? Making money? Learning? None of these things are sinful in themselves, nor is it necessarily wrong to enjoy them.
Yet I am noticing about myself that the things I once enjoyed have taken on a different response in my heart. Some of them I enjoyed because of what they did for me. I liked to give out helpful information because it made me feel useful, or I liked listening to others because it created a bond between us. Now God is changing that. He wants me to delight in Him above all, and when I do that, selfish motivations (even those that appear noble) must vanish, and they do.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
In today’s devotionals, Stephan Charnock writes that, “The highest step of delight is a silencing of desire and the banquet of the soul on its desired object.”
This is a deep thought. In its context, he means God as that object of highest delight. It also seems to mean that God puts to rest all other desires as I delight myself in Him. Is this what is happening with my selfish reasons to do good things? They matter less and less as God matters more and more.
Charnock says we can delight in our desires, such as finding cheerfulness in our work, both in the process and the finishing of it. We can delight in hope, the hope that is “know so” rather than uncertainty. God’s Word assures me of spending eternity with Him. I desire that and that desire gives me delight as I contemplate thoughts of heaven and seeing the face of Jesus. Just as turning into my driveway brings home nearer, my delight in heaven increases with age because that day is closer than it was before. Even so, I can still delight in the journey.
One of my quilting friends came over yesterday. We talked about the delight of the process of making quilts. People say to us, “I don’t have the patience to make a quilt” without understanding that this creativity is not about having the finished product or being impatient to have it. It is about the journey to get there.
Life with God and delighting in Him is something like that because the journey is supposed to be a joyful journey. I enjoy the process without being impatient to get there, to be done with life. But this delight isn’t just about the journey…
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away… (Isaiah 35:10)
One day I will experience the finish of this journey called life. Unlike a finished quilt that I enjoy but usually give to someone else, life’s finish means being with God forever and experiencing everlasting delight that is mine forever.