What do you rejoice in? The Bible says we are to 'rejoice' and 'delight' in God. Sometimes I wonder why it often so hard for me to do this. It is far easier for me to get excited, and treasure watching my favorites athlete (Derrick Rose) take over a game in the 4th quarter and lead his team to victory. I have no problem delighting in earning good grades, or having a good time with friends. This sunday, I will be quick to rejoice when the Bears score. But why is it so hard for me to delight in God? Why is reading the Bible more like pulling teeth than it is a joyful delight. Why am I more drawn and enamored with stuff instead of God and His Word. Why do I often times delight in trivial 'things' more than God.
At a fundamental level, it is because I do not fully believe the Gospel. I think Tim Keller's quote hits the nail on the head. We delight in something because it is valuable to us, because we have assessed it's beauty and treasure it. If this is true, the reason I don't delight in God is that I have failed to properly assess God's value and the true treasure that He is. I have failed to see the beauty of the Gospel. In my few moments of Gospel sanity, when for a moment, I taste the overwhelming goodness of the Father expressed through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on my behalf, in those moments, I am apt to delight in God. During those glimpses of grace (shout out Erik Most), I experience the fullness of joy that is in Christ.
However, in order to do this, we must properly assess the value of the Gospel. Tim Keller defines the Gospel as the fact that we are far worse, and far more hopeless than we could ever imagine, yet, in Christ, we are more loved and accepted than we could ever hope. In order to assess the value of the Gospel, we must understand both sides. If we don't see ourselves as utterly sinful, naked, blind, poor, lost, miserable souls, who if it weren't for the sheer grace of God, would be justly consumed by His wrath, the Gospel will never be valuable to us. It will never be good news. There is a reason Jesus said, "He who is forgiven little, loves little. But he who is forgiven much, loves much". Grace won't be amazing to us unless we realize what we've been saved from. A shackled slave who is redeemed rejoices. A beggar who has been adopted by the King and made into a Son rejoices. Someone who thinks they are a generally good person and deserves salvation on their merit does not rejoice.
More so, we will only be able to rightly rejoice in God when we realize God's absolute benevolence towards His children. If you are in Christ, you are beloved. You are more loved than you can imagine. Christians should rejoice in God because they have been saved from their utter state of sin and brought into the glorious light. We were unlovely, but we have been loved by the most lovely. Love to the loveless shown, that we might lovely be. When I dwell on this, I treasure God above all else. Knowing both ends, that we are utterly sinful and hopeless, yet completely loved and secure in Christ's finished work, will cause us to rightly assess the Gospel's value, to rightly treasure it, and to see its pure beauty. And when this happens, we will rejoice and delight in God.
I pray God will continue to illuminate my heart to the true treasure that Christ is, and the absolute beauty of the Gospel; that God saves messed up sinners.