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There’s a misconception that many people have about God’s laws: they think that they are intended to rob us of enjoyment, that they restrict our lives and remove our pursuit of happiness.
In actuality, the exact opposite is true. God is love (1 John 4:8). That means everything God does is rooted in His love for us. Including the laws He gives us. He loves us and wants us to stay in the place where we don’t experience the heartache, pain, and disappointment of missing out on His blessings.
God is also happy. Paul calls it “the glory of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:11). The word “blessed” can easily be translated as happy. God is happy and He wants us to share in this ultimate happiness.
Consider the blessings that are in first and last of the Ten Commandments:
- The first commandment says there is only one God. Far from this being restrictive, it’s a huge blessing. I don’t have to search and compare, I don’t have to make a list of pros and cons and then settle on the best option, but I can enjoy the one and only true God.
- The tenth commandment says I don’t need to crave anything outside of what God has given me. Again, this is a huge blessing because it tells me that my loving Father has given me all that I need, that He alone satisfies my cravings.
John Piper gave the essence of idolatry in this line: “Preferring other things above God.” This is why God delights for us to delight in Him. When we do, He is our sole focus. When He is our focus, we enjoy Him immensely and we reject anything that would remove our gaze from Him.
That’s why there is a continuous linkage in all 176 verses of Psalm 119 between God’s laws and our delight—between obedience and satisfaction. When we obey God, we experience His happiness.
The apostle Paul called Christians to live this way: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). Gospel literally means “good news.” What good news are we supposed to proclaim? The good news that God is happy and that He wants to say to us, “Come and share your Master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:21)!
When I was a kid I struggled with this question: Do I love God just because He first loved me? I thought, “That seems like a cop out. Am I really saying that the only reason I have for loving Him is that He went first?” But then I realized it couldn’t be any other way. How could I love an angry God? How could I ever expect to approach a God who knew all my sins and had the final say on my punishment, and was just waiting for a chance to get His hands on me?
I can only love a loving God. I can only love Him because He first loved me (see Romans 5:8).
In a similar way, I can only crave God because He first craved a relationship with me. Otherwise I’m setting myself up for unimaginable heartbreak and disappointment!
Jesus said it was His Father’s “good pleasure” to reveal Himself to us. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son. Our heavenly Father craved a relationship with us, so He revealed His Son Jesus to us so that Jesus could reveal the Father to us (see Matthew 11:25-30; John 14:7).
Just as we could only love God because He loved us first, we could only crave a relationship with God because He craved a relationship with us first. It was always His plan to adopt us into His family—this is what gives Him great pleasure (Ephesians 1:5). Then God works in us to fulfill His craving for us, which empowers us to find our deepest longings satisfied exclusively in Him (Philippians 2:13).
Sometimes we get a small taste or experience of earthly pleasure that quickly fades away. C.S. Lewis reminded us, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Our craving for God is only satisfied in the knowledge that God first craved a relationship with us. Only the intimacy of our Savior will fulfill our cravings. Anything else will end only in utter disappointment.
If you have missed any of the message in our series called Craving, you can find a list of all of the messages by clicking here.
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