Friday, August 15, 2008

enjoying God (4) how much joy can I have now?

It's an odd in-between time we live in.

When Jesus died on the cross, he dealt the death-blow to sorrow, sin and Satan. But we wait for the day when Jesus' victory is complete, and sorrow, sin and Satan are no more.

This has huge implications for our experience of joy during this life.

The word enjoyment can be used in two ways: to possess or have a right to something, or to feel delight in something.* In the first sense, our enjoyment of God is already complete. In the second sense, it won't be complete until heaven.

We already enjoy, or possess, "every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). We're as intimate with God as we will ever be. We're at peace with God. We're righteous in his sight. We can walk straight into God's presence. Heaven is our country. (Rom. 5:1-11; 8; Eph. 1:3-14; 2:6-7; Hebrews 10:19-23)

We don't have to jump through any spiritual hoops to union with Christ. There's no "first class" in the Christian life, no special kind of Christian with more significant experiences of God. We can’t “come into God’s presence”, “draw near to God”, or “get closer to God” - we're already there.

Enjoyment of God is already ours.

But we don't always feel delight, for we wait for fullness of joy. Joy during this life is interrupted and imperfect. At times, we may feel no conscious enjoyment of God at all. Joy is interrupted by depression, doubt, and discouragement. It's disturbed by sin, sickness, and sorrow.

We look forward to the day when we will see God face to face. On that day, we will finally be like him, for we will see him as he is. We will stand with thousands upon thousands before his throne, praising him. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. Joy will be our all.

We shouldn't expect uninterrupted enjoyment of God now, but we long and look forward to it. We taste its first fruits. Even now we "rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory" (1 Pet. 1:8).

Joy is ours, and joy yet to come.

*See definition of enjoyment in The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

Image is from stock.xchng.

1 comment:

mattnbec said...

I think the two uses of 'enjoy' is a useful way of thinking about this, Jean. Thanks.