Enjoying God

Welcome to Real Life. Is enjoying the Lord’s presence a new thought? It was for me at one time.

“They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the Lord that day.” 1 Chronicles 29:22

While growing up, a church service was something I endured. I viewed it as an obligation that God and my parents required. Nope, didn't enjoy it.

But then, as an older teen, I actually began to seek the Lord's presence. I visited churches attempting to find a truer (or at least more enjoyable) experience of God. Those who seek the Lord, find Him:
“‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah 29:13-14
I found Him. I welcomed Christ into my heart. God was no longer a stranger. I enjoyed His nearness as I walked life's journey.

However, as my knowledge of theology grew, I learned that God is pure. He is holy. I am not. In fact, He cannot stand the presence of sin. Though I was saved by grace through faith in Christ[1], I tried to earn the right to His holy presence through confession, offerings, and sacrifices.

I must be holy to enter the presence of a holy God, right?

Right. The problem: it’s just not possible. No matter how hard I try, I can’t be perfectly holy. That’s what Christmas is all about. Jesus left heaven to come to save me [2]. What God required—a perfect life, a holy sacrifice—God provided. He came down Himself and shed His blood for me.

And so, a tension exists in my walk of faith between grace and purity. God wants me to live a pure, holy life... but, not to earn the right to stand before Him. It’s because a holy life is the life I was created for. It's the best, whole-est, and, yes, even the most enjoyable life.

Yet, I still sin—there's the tension. When Christ came into my life, He broke my sin addiction. It no longer dominates me. But, it still affects me. And, it will until I enter heaven's door.

No, I can't earn the right to stand before God. The good news:  I don’t need to. Because, Jesus did. That's the grace part. He lived a perfectly holy life—and then laid that life down—for me. Wrapped in Jesus' perfect goodness, I am welcome. I enter with a full heart and smiling tears and enjoy the presence of my God!
Westminster Shorter Catechism (1646)
Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Do you enjoy God?

[1] Ephesians 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
[2] Matthew 1:21:  "And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[a] for he will save his people from their sins.”
[a] Jesus means “The Lord saves.”

[3] Colossians 3:3
Image:  The Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst (1590–1656 AD), Public Domain


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