Take a trip with me… 300 miles x 75 mph = 4 hours. So if we leave at noon, we should arrive promptly at four… yeah right! I didn’t figure on Cincinnati traffic, on hungry kids, on 3 bathroom breaks, or that I forgot to get gas, and that the outlet malls needed our business!! Things outside of our control bring stress – they zap our pleasure. But this is nothing like God!
Some people (parents, spouses, friends) have expectations of us that, if we fail to live up to, we disappoint and cause pain. We affect their level of pleasure by our mistakes and/or sinfulness. God is not that kind of parent, friend, companion. He knows that we have/will fall short and yet that doesn’t disturb his pleasure. Is can still work all things for good. He can still overwhelm our sinful state with grace. He can and will get glory in those situations. He’s good like that!
God is a God of Pleasure – in Himself (Who He Is & What He Does & What We Do)
Why is God so Happy?
>>HIS PLANS ARE GOOD He alone is God – this is going to be difficult to comprehend since all else falls short. Nothing can stand in the way of His pleasure (because what He plans always happens). He is never conflicted about his decisions (whether they are right or if will people like them). Many times, we are stuck living according to others’ plans… but not God! Never! Nothing can frustrate his plans – so He never gets frustrated! He knows what to expect! *see Isaiah 46:9-11 – God is Sovereign (in complete control) & Does All He Enjoys
>>HIS POWER IS GREAT He has never been forced to do anything he didn’t enjoy (even the cross Isa 53:10). Absolute power – absolutely uncorrupted. He can’t be bought with any price, He will only do what is right and good (no pseudo-agenda). *see Ps 115:3 – He is Omnipotent & Does Whatever He Enjoys & Ps 135:5-6ff – Whatever He Wants, He Gets (creation-nature, kingdoms-peoples)
>>HIS PERSON IS GOD He has enjoyed eternal satisfaction within Himself – with no lack, no need. *see Matt 17:5 – God is Happy with Himself – in the Trinity, never lonely & Acts 17:25 – Need is the absence of pleasure — ‘Need’ is a creature word – never associated with God!
Does God Want Me to Be Happy?
God Cares More about Your Pleasure than You Do!
The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.
– from Desiring God, John Piper:
- The longing to be happy is a universal human desire, it is God-given, good, not sinful. We were created for pleasure (Rev 4:11) – along with everything in creation… the bees, the birds, the fish, the wild stallion… all to run, to swim, to fly and glorify God. But we were given more than instinct, we were given a choice… as the crown of creation, we were given food, tasks, power, companionship, protection, and God blessed them… it was good! In the NT, His pleasure is the source, the means, and the end of grace. It is what makes Him happy! We have grace because God is good and that is what He wants! (seen in the garden of Eden before sin & temptation)
- We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead, we should seek to intensify this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest and most enduring satisfaction. It has been said that the same thing that drives a man to drink also drives him to God. (John 4- Woman at the Well) This is most certainly true. We all long for more, for love, for fulfillment, for change. Yet we come to plateaus, to roadblocks, to loneliness, to hopelessness. So we choose to give up (escape, run, etc) or to pursue pleasure even harder (addictions or adoration). At this point some turn to a drink, a needle, a prostitute… others turn to God. Too often, we think we can’t be happy for God to be happy. It doesn’t have to be that way, Christianity doesn’t have to be sour apples and pickle juice, serving Jesus shouldn’t be frowns and trials all day long… But we must realize that every earthly pleasure is either a reflecting God’s glory or stealing it. It is either bringing pleasure to God or stealing it away from God. (Rom 3:23)
- The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God. (not just in what God does or gives, but in who God is) If Ps 16:11 is true… Our level of joy is an indication of our nearness to God. The closer you are to God, the more joy you have. God’s ‘right hand’ is Jesus & His throne. To have pleasures eternal, we must yield to Christ’s authority in our lives! Spending time with God, entering into his presence, submitting to his control in life, in decisions, in relationships… that’s where the joy is! Is there pleasure is sin – yes, but for a season. It’s short-lived and leaves us with the pit in our stomach, the desire for a little more, the craving for another… it never satisfies. But God can. God does.
- To the extent that we try to abandon the pursuit of our own pleasure, we fail to honor God & love people. ~or~ The pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and virtue. We are created to glorify God… can any of us do this without finding pleasure in Him? Can we truly worship Him without finding joy in Him? No, it is impossible. Your happiness is forever connected to your worship. You cannot glorify what you do not enjoy. Emotionless worship is not worship at all. Finney said: ‘God uses the emotions to engage the will (which is in neutral).’
To seek the pleasure of God.
To find the purposes of God.
To praise God with our lives and our lips.
To understand that every pleasure of earth is either a reflection or a substitute of God’s supply of joy for you.