We don't experience as much delight in Christ as we know we should and know we could.
We are so wrapped up in our struggles, our failures, our sins, that we've lost sight of delighting in God; we go to Him for forgiveness, for strength, for guidance--but joy?
If we're absolutely honest with ourselves, we know that the delight we experience in our lives is almost exclusively found elsewhere.
Happiness. When was the last time you felt happy, and why? What delights you and gives you joy?
If you're like me, you probably feel a small twinge of guilt as the answers pop up in your head.
Why is God so low down on the list?
Of course, this doesn't mean that we can't enjoy things that aren't explicitly about God. They are gifts from His hand and reflections of His goodness, and He means us to find delight in them.
The question is rather whether we see them as such. If they are truly gifts/reflections which are good in themselves--shouldn't the One Who created and gave them be even better?
Maurice Roberts wrote excellently on this:
“Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer’s soul and they promote sanctification."
Whoa. I don't know about you, but reading that for the first time was a revelation. I had never seen ecstasy as 'essential' or 'promoting sanctification'--more as a kind of bonus (if you could get it.)
And as result I had never purposefully pursued it--just ambled along expecting it to drop down on me if convenient. Let me tell you that this is not a good method of achieving things, spiritual or otherwise. Glorifying God is an intentional pursuit.
Here's the most striking part of the whole passage: (in my opinion--but then I found all of it pretty amazingly jaw-dropping)
"We were not meant to live without spiritual exhilaration, and the Christian who goes for a long time without the experience of heart-warming will soon find himself tempted to have his emotions satisfied from earthly things and not as he ought, from the Spirit of God."
We need to seek our 'ecstasy' from the Source. I think we all agree on that. But the reason why we find it so hard is because we've settled for the easier, but second-rate (comparatively, shallow) ecstasy from earthly things.
"The soul is so constituted that it craves fulfillment from things outside itself and will embrace earthly joys for satisfaction when it cannot reach spiritual ones…"
God made us to desire and enjoy ecstasy. Ecstasy in itself is one of His gifts. We were made to desire and pursue it--ultimately to find it in God. But too often our sin-tainted eyes get smeared over and we go groping after other things, things which seem sparkly and colorful and so much closer to our grasping hand than the golden glory of God.
"...The believer is in spiritual danger if he allows himself to go for any length of time without tasting the love of Christ and savouring the felt comforts of a Saviour’s presence.
When Christ ceases to fill the heart with satisfaction, our souls will go in silent search of other lovers...
...By the enjoyment of the love of Christ in the heart of a believer we mean an experience of the “love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us” (Romans 5:5)…Because the Lord has made Himself accessible to us in the means of grace, it is our duty and privilege to seek this experience from Him in these means till we are made the joyful partakers of it.”
The Thought of God
We need to pursue ecstasy as Christians. Because God intended us to. Because it is hugely important in our spiritual growth or decline. Because it transforms us.
And simplest of all, because it is an aspect of our God.
a small voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are