Are God’s Blessings For Us? Or For God? (Part 4)Posted: March 14, 2012
Ah, I love saving the best news for last.
We’ve spent the last three posts trying – no, laboring – to learn why God blesses us, and we arrived last time at two very important truths: 1) that God blesses us because he loves us and wants us to know it, and 2) God blesses us so that he may receive glory. While these two motivations are not conflicting within the counsel of God (a view which I spent an entire post in part 3 trying to defend), I have not been shy about placing the latter as the end to which the former is designed to lead. Now to dodge one last pitfall.
Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to separate the enjoyment of blessings from the glorification of God. The concern goes like this: “How long am I allowed to sit here and feel loved and enjoy blessings before I should start glorifying God (through acts of service, thankful prayers, etc.)? Should I limit how much I enjoy the gifts God has given me to avoid being inward-focused instead of God-focused?”
The answer lies in how you define your blessings. And in this final post, I’m not talking about your earthly blessings like your car and your clothes and your money and your education and your family. (While these blessings should evoke gratitude and can appropriately be enjoyed, finding enjoyment in these things can be over-pursued, leading to idolatry. I’ll leave it to the Holy Spirit to counsel you on how to steward the materials God has blessed you with.)
But in this last post we are instead concerned with the spiritual blessings found in Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1). And the truly amazing news is that all these spiritual blessings culminate into one – the enjoyment of God himself. And when God is the blessing, there is no cap on enjoyment, no risk of self-centeredness. There is no distinction between enjoying him and glorifying him. To know him is to enjoy him, and to enjoy him is to glorify him. One well-known pastor has often said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” When God is our greatest treasure, we need not feel tension between receiving blessing and giving praise – they are inextricably linked. And, even better, God invites you to find your joy in him. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desire of your heart” (that is, himself). MAKE HIM YOUR THIRST AND YOUR THIRST WILL BE QUENCHED. Beautiful.
All these things will be experienced to the fullest degree in heaven, where we will be fully freed from the power of sin to pursue God undistractedly. Predicting the constant, God-centered joy seeking of heaven, Psalm 87 says, “Those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say, ‘All my springs of joy are in you.'” The NIV says, “All my fountains are in you.” Almost sounds like it could be a song…
Let’s let God be our only source of joy, and we’ll glorify him by default.
Thanks for playing along.