The Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many.Mark 10:45
The difference between the true God and the gods of the nations is that the true God carries and the other gods must be carried. God serves, they must be served... A God who cannot be served is a God who can only be enjoyed. The great sin of the world is not that the human race has failed to work for God so as to increase his glory, but that we have failed to delight in God so as to reflect his glory. For God's glory is most reflected in us when we are most delighted in him.
Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive!
I love watching a herd of horses grazing in an open pasture or running free across the sage-covered plateaus in Montana. I love hiking in the high country when the wildflowers are blooming - the purple lupine and the Shasta daisies, the Indian paintbrush when it's turning magenta. I love thunderclouds, massive ones. My family loves to sit outside on summer nights and watch the lightning, hear the thunder as a storm rolls in across Colorado. I love water too - the ocean, streams, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, rain. I love jumping off high rocks into lakes with my boys. I love old barns, windmills, the West. I love vineyards. I love it when Stasi is loving something, love watching her delight. I love my boys. I love God...
Take a moment, set down the book, and make a list of all the things you love. Don't edit yourself; don't worry about prioritizing or anything of that sort. Simply think of all the things you love. Whether it's the people in your life or the things that bring you joy or the places that are dear to you or your God, you could not love them if you did not have a heart. A life filled with loving is a life most like the one that God lives, which is life as it was meant to be (Eph. 5:1-2). And loving requires a heart alive and awake and free...
You cannot be the person God meant you to be, and you cannot live the life he meant you to live, unless you live from the heart...
Go fall in love then. Do something heroic; save someone's life. Spend a month in some breathtaking spot, doing nothing productive at all. Take up painting. Have yourself a good laugh - the kind that sends tears down your face and makes you grip your side for the ache of it. Listen to a beautiful piece of music. Live with courage. Tuck your child into bed; listen to her prayers; kiss her cheek. Find God...
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.
...Now, Christ could have chosen any one of a thousand other passages to explain his life purpose. He is the Sacrificial Lamb, the Root of Jesse, the Morning Star. But here, at the opening moment of his ministry, he chose this passage above all others; this is the heart of his mission. Everything else he says and does finds its place under this banner. I am here to give you back your heart and set you free. That is why the glory of God is man fully alive; it's what he said he came to do. But of course. The opposite can't be true. "The glory of God is man barely making it, a person hardly alive." How can it bring God glory for his very image, his own children, to remain so badly marred, broken, captive?
...It is simply diabolical, despicable, downright evil that the heart should be so misunderstood, maligned, feared, and dismissed... The war we are in would explain so great a loss. This is the last thing the Enemy wants you to know. His plan from the beginning was to assault the heart... Make them so busy, they ignore the heart. Wound them so deeply, they don't want a heart. Twist their theology, so they despise the heart. Take away their courage. Destroy their creativity. Make intimacy with God impossible for them...
Without your heart you cannot have God. Without your heart you cannot have love. Without your heart you cannot have faith. Without your heart you cannot find the work that you were meant to do. In other words, without your heart you cannot have life.
-John Eldredge, Waking the Dead
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
When was the last time you enjoyed God? I'm sure we can all easily say we appreciate Him. But do we enjoy Him? Do we even realize He is meant to be enjoyed? Last week while my parents and I were on vacation we got to see firsthand some of His most beautiful handiwork as we visited Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon. I came home feeling SO refreshed, simply from taking a break from the everyday grind and getting away where I could focus on God and ENJOY Him and His creation!!
In our Perspectives course we have been learning that God's ultimate objective in human history is to be glorified -- not only because He and He alone deserves glory, but also because He loves us and the most honored position humans can have is being in His presence, which is where we go to worship Him. And it is in His presence that we are transformed and made like Christ... What a privilege that the Creator of the universe offers us the opportunity to fellowship with Him, to enjoy Him, to play a part in His purposes for humanity by lifting up His name, and to watch as He works in the world around us!
Since enjoying God by being in His creation last week, I have been so excited about my relationship with Him and have been more able to keep my heart focused on Him even during difficult moments. When you think about it, it's hard to stay excited about someone when you don't spend any time enjoying the person... Why do we think that is any different with God? I've decided to make an effort to set aside a day or night each week to simply enjoy my heavenly Father -- whether by getting out in the midst of His creation, eating a great meal, taking a nap, going for a walk, reading a great book, listening to some good music, going for a drive, or any other number of things that bring joy to my heart. Think of it as a mini-retreat. In setting aside these "God dates," in making time for Him to refresh me, I believe He will keep my passion for Him fueled and enable me to better reflect His glory instead of trying to manufacture it on my own.
I am excited about my God and so thankful for the freedom He has given us through Christ. May His glory always be my greatest delight!