RELIGION COLUMN: Is God something we can enjoy?

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, October 22, 2013

By Jake McCall

I enjoy waterskiing; I enjoy tennis; I enjoy reading and I enjoy spending time with my family. Consider the things you most enjoy, and then consider whether you enjoy God in that manner or even at all. I believe that as we look back on our lives, no matter how well things have turned out, if we have not enjoyed God, then we will know the central portion of our heart has remained very empty.

So, first of all, God planned, before the foundation of the world, waterskiing, tennis, football, gymnastics, gardening, etc., and by his kindness, he planned and expected for us to enjoy those things. God ordained the institution of the family and orchestrated our relationships, and he is so pleased when we rightly enjoy them; therefore, we may and should enjoy the Lord as we enjoy all that he has given us and designed for us. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This is because he created what we eat and drink; he directs our steps and he intends for that to bring us joy while reminding us of his goodness and providence.

Do you enjoy God as all other things are stripped away? Do you enjoy his words above all others? What about his presence? Is that special to you, or even a reality? I don’t mean just a Sunday morning worship experience. I am speaking of authentic communion with God that may take place as you are driving to work, mowing the lawn, jogging or praying on your knees. In Psalm 51:11, David says, “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” David wasn’t saying this as he was listening to singing or preaching; he uttered those words to God as he was confessing his exposed sin of adultery to the Lord. This was David saying, “Take my riches, take my kingdom, take my family, but do not take your presence from me!” Consider the difference between this response and when Adam hid from God in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit. This is why David was a man after God’s own heart; he enjoyed God. As a very imperfect man, even in confession and repentance, he enjoyed God. As we draw near to God, seeking his fellowship, he will come near and bring the joy of the Lord with him.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, which is a great teaching tool for both church and home, asks this in its first question: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” I’ll leave you with an excerpt regarding this from “The Works of Jonathan Edwards,” in my opinion, the greatest pastor and theologian in America’s history: “Fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, children or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows, but the enjoyment of God is the substance. They are but scattered beams, but God is the sun … Why should we labour for, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness?”

—Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church.