Sunday, October 17, 2010

God’s Pleasure

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. My thoughts in red.

Then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalm 51:19

I must admit
I am embarrassed
by
what gives me
pleasure.
It doesn't take
much
to make me
smile.
I get
real pleasure
from
a good steak
nice chocolate
a comfortable
bed.
I want the joy
of
cold soda
and
hot tea.
I want the bathroom
to
be empty when
I need it.
I want the streets
I drive on
to
be free of other
drivers.
I want people
to
respect my opinions
and
validate my plans.
I want my wife
to
be satisfied
with me as
I am.
I want
my bills all
paid
and plenty of money
to
do the pleasurable
things
that make me
happy.

It’s all about me and what I want. I have an idea of what would make me happy and I pursue it. I want to feel good. I want things to taste good and to smell good. I want comfort. But what if I am wrong? What if I’m looking at the wrong things in the wrong places? What if the pleasure I experience is a cheap substitute? What if I’ve been fooled?

But God
isn't like
me.
His pleasures
aren't a sad
catalog
of
low-grade
idolatries.
His desires
aren't shaped
by
ravenous self-focus.
He
doesn't.
live
in a perpetual state
of
self-absorbed
discontent.
His pleasures
are never
regrettable
ugly
or
unholy.
When
God smiles
His reason
is holy
and His purpose
is
pure.
He finds
great pleasure
in His glory
and
great joy
when
the repentant
turn
from the pursuit
of
their own glory and
turn
toward His.
He has
great pleasure
in
the success
of
His plan
and finds
satisfaction
in seeing
His children
turn
from their pleasure
to
live for
His.

If we don’t understand God, the above would seem incredibly self-centered. Why does everything have to be about Him? Why do I have to do everything He wants me to do? Why do I have to live for His pleasure? But to know Him is to realize that when I live that way, everything falls into place. I experience the highest pleasure and contentment.

Someday
by His grace
the pleasures
that give me
pleasure
will be
the things that
please God.
Until then
my
hope is in the
fact
that He finds
delight
in rescuing those
who
have been led
astray
by their pleasures
because
once more today
I'm
going to need
that rescue.
And I'll need
it
every day until
my
deepest pleasures
are nowhere to be found
in
the creation
and only to be found
in
the Creator.

Isn’t it great that He works in us? I don’t have to muster the strength to change myself. He shows me what is wrong and gives grace and strength to change. He lets me taste what true pleasure is and a longing for it is planted in me.

A question from the meditation:

How close is what gives you pleasure to what gives God pleasure?

It’s something I know in my head but it’s not something I live everyday. The world is so good in pushing its stuff. Every day it’s in my face. Something to buy, eat, look at or listen to; another hollow promise. But I have tasted the true pleasure, the experience of knowing I am doing exactly what God wants; I have felt His smile. So to answer the question, it depends on the day.

Philip


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