Love is a pursuit. It has been since Love created this earth, breathed this universe into existence for the sole purpose of magnifying that love through giving its inhabitants something of essence to pursue. When we look at redemptive history it’s clear that there is coming a moment of eternal clarification, unbridled climax, universal crescendo, a proverbial breaking of the ribbon at the end of this race. Within the realm of monotonous jobs, heartbreak, birth, spring mornings, death, worship, tears, oil changes, dinner parties, hikes, sunsets, school, world hunger, fear, dates, weddings, lectures, road trips, poverty, swimming and public speaking there is always an innate sense of wonder in tomorrow and a longing for more, that’s in our nature, to desire. However obvious this is in our lives, our living lacks acknowledgement of this immanent finish-line in the sense that we don’t prepare ourselves for that day with hopeful eternal security.
Carpe diem is etched into the banners of our lives because philosophers, professors, parents, commercials, movies, TV shows, books, magazines, newspapers, computers and peers have shown us that today is real and tangible, beyond that is unknown and to be feared, but right now is at our fingertips and it is a fruitful harvest of temporal pleasure so reach out and grab life and hold on cause we’re not sure what happens next! Surrender is a curse that only the weak embrace as they wander about in utter blindness to the enlightenment that is “supposed” to reside within us and selflessness is only for the undetermined soul who hasn’t realized their own potential. Our culture plants such seeds in the new soils of our children with self-perceived godhood being the goal of their toils. We’ve lost the desire to desire what the world labels as undesirable, faith. Happiness is the medium to which we are supposed to catch a glimpse of the bigger picture, the framed in idea of what life should revolve around, ultimately, the self. Joy is what this equation is missing and as all of us have experienced at some point, you can’t always be happy, but joy gives us the opportunity to embrace hardship and still see beyond any picture the world can paint, a picture of grace, ultimately the cross and still “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15). (Joy meaning, the heart ability to overcome trials to achieve perseverance for good, to see past the valleys of life (Psalm 32) and fixate on the mountains of peace waiting for us to stand atop of and look down upon in reverence and to look ahead with hopeful expectation knowing that this place is not our destination!)
Psalm 37:4 reads, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The first five words of this verse prescribe a joy in something outside of ourselves, and that requires surrender, a relenting of self to the almighty Delighter, ultimately losing nothing and gaining everything. Now at first glance this verse serves to encourage a materialistic reason to “delight in the LORD”, but upon meditation and saturation of this verse I found myself, with the help of a thoughtful sermon, rewording this verse, “Make the LORD your delight and desire and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This new statement is a given, sincerely simple and yet has a new meaning, one that should be seen in the original, but we have neglected delight as a possible outcome of looking AT God instead of looking TO God for things we WANT, now we receive in abundance that which we NEED, more of God, our new delight. Possession of something is only as good as the use of it, and not only do we have the opportunity to possess the God of creation, but we are also liable to use Him for His glory to continue seek Him as our delight, a production of worship, that outward expression of the inward grace. I don’t mean that God is some sort of pawn in our game for power or possessions, but that we should recognize with renown that we are His and He is ours through a moving in us of the Holy Spirit towards Himself.
This verse, along with all of Scripture demands an examining of ourselves, our delights, our desires, our hearts with humility and authentic hunger for God’s presence in all four. We must find ourselves second in our own race, our own pursuit of love, knowing that the One ahead of us in first place is providing victory to us vicariously, giving joy freely and offering endless tomorrows in the Kingdom of Heaven with Himself.
Making the LORD our delight allows a holy cycle to begin, constantly receiving our delighted desire forever and ever in an overflow of the Spirit within us, pouring out just to pour back in is to be enjoyed. John Piper in his book “Desiring God” encourages us to think about enjoying the ministry of delight (or Love as he puts it) through the words of the great Episcopalian pastor Phillips Brooks. Brooks says, “Therefore, count it not merely a perfectly legitimate pleasure, count it an essential element of your power, if you can feel a simple delight in what you have to do as a minister, in the fervor of writing, in the glow of speaking, in standing before men and moving them, in contact with the young. The more thoroughly you enjoy it, the better you will do it all. This is all true of preaching. Its highest joy is in the great ambition that is set before it, the glorifying of the Lord and saving of the souls of men. No other joy on earth compares with that. The ministry that does not feel that joy is dead. But in behind that highest joy, beating humble unison with it, as the healthy body thrills in sympathy with the deep thoughts and pure desires of the mind and soul, the best ministers have always been conscious of another pleasure which belonged to the very doing of the work itself. As we read the lives of all the most effective preachers of the past, or as we meet the men who are powerful preacher of the Word today, we feel how certainly and how deeply the very exercise of their ministry delights them.” Using this heart of flesh to beat in “humble unison” for something bigger than myself, delighting in what is unknown by the world’s standards and receiving what no one can mass produce, or do themselves, or communicate with mere words, or even tell me doesn’t actually exist is truly a delightful desire!
“Holy Father, I make You my delight and You alone! I desire You above all else because You are above all else! Holy Spirit manifest Yourself in my life as the confirmation that You are real and nothing short of gloriously delightful, the desire of my heart, always! I pursue Your love, the very initiation of my existence and the continuation of my desire to love You with my existence. Lord receive glory and honor and praise through my words, that they may be Your words and Your heart, take my heart Lord and delight in my desires as they are You! Thank You for Your provision of abundance of joy, jobs, and Jenny as we seek first Your Kingdom and glory in all of those things! In the delightful and precious name of Jesus I pray, AMEN!”