HE IS OUR PRIZE
Lam. 3:24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
I wonder how much time, energy, and money I expended on pursuing happiness in things other than God before I was converted to Christ in 1973. I spent money on cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, and an unlimited list of other sorts of foolishness. Like everyone else, I was just looking to enjoy my life. Inside of all of us is a desire to be happy and to enjoy our lives. Many people spend their whole lives in relentless pursuit and never grasp the prize. This prize called happiness always seems to be just out of our reach. That brings us to one of the most surprising aspects of Christianity. Contrary to what most people think the Christian faith does not consist in the denial of pleasure but Christianity is actually the pursuit of pleasure and satisfaction in God. Real Christians have just discovered the source of joy. God Himself is our joy. Our joy is not in the good things He gives us or provides for us but is in God Himself. This message was the theme of the preaching of Jonathan Edwards. He taught his people to pursue joy in God with all their might. Here is a famous quote of Edwards, pay close attention, there is a lot in these words.
“That God in seeking his glory, therein seeks the good of his creatures: ( In other words, God is seeking your testimony for His glory)
because the emanation of his glory (which he seeks and delights in, as he delights in himself and his own eternal glory) implies the communicated excellency and happiness of his creature. And that in communicating his fullness for them, he does it for himself: because their good, which he seeks, is so much in union and communion with himself. God is their good. Their excellency and happiness is nothing but the emanation and expression of God’s glory: God in seeking their glory and happiness, seeks himself: and in seeking himself, himself diffused and expressed (which he delights in, as he delights in his own beauty and fullness), he seeks their glory and happiness.”
God is your good, if you didn’t understand anything else Edwards said remember this, our good is God Himself, not the good things He does for us. When God becomes your prize, this becomes your testimony which then brings great glory to God. The commercial world understands this truth and applies it to all their marketing strategies. Whether they are selling tooth paste, a new car, or some sort of medical product, the message is always the same. Use this product and you will be happier and your life more fulfilling. For us as Christians, knowing Christ is by far our greatest joy. Our satisfaction in Christ is far more persuasive than any sermon than can be preached. The joy that resides in our heart is expressed in our smile, our actions and our words. This is how God is glorified. As John Piper constantly preaches, “God is most glorified when I am satisfied in Him”.