Do we ever begin a session with our computers, hoping that they will enjoy the time we spend with them? Not likely. They do not possess the spiritual and emotional capacity for joy. We rightly view them as dispassionate tools or machines to be used, rather than beings with which to have personal relationship.
"In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).
"God... giveth us richly all things to enjoy" (I Timothy 6:17).
When God made humanity in His image, He emphasized the capacity for enjoyment of both Himself and His gifts. This says so much about Him, and about ourselves. First, we fall to our faces in grateful praise and thanksgiving that our Heavenly Father made us as beings capable of being loved, and then loving in response. "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). The entrance of sin damaged the capacity to fulfill our role in the relationship, but through Christ, God activates and actualizes our ability to affirm with the Psalmist, "I will love Thee, o Lord my strength!" (Psalm 18:1). This is joy, the purest joy of our existence, that is, to know and to experience that God loves us and desires our blessedness, and then to know and to experience that we can love Him, and wondrously, to bless Him also. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).
Such truth being established in us, we then possess the capacity to possess and to enjoy the things God gives to us. We best experience this capacity by realizing that He gives His gifts to serve as open doorways through which we enter to experience the aforementioned relationship with Him. This involves praise and thanksgiving. When we express adoration and gratitude for our Lord's generosity, we fulfill no need in Him for being praised and thanked. We do, however, bless Him by relating to Him. "The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8). We also return to the altar that blesses our own hearts, namely, that most holy of venues where God Himself meets us. "Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise Thee, O God my God" (Psalm 43:4). Gifts given thus serve their primary purpose of leading us to consciously commune with the Gift Giver, eliciting in both Benefactor and recipient the realized joy of mutual blessedness.
The next time God gives to our eyes and to our hearts a glorious sunset, or to our ears and to our hearts the strains of beautiful music, or to our souls and to our hearts the sublime fellowship of a good friend, let us realize the even greater blessing that He thereby provides opportunity for known communion with the Life of our lives. Yes, we can remember the Giver, and respond to Him in the realized relationship of praise and thanksgiving. Our Heavenly Father made us for such wonder. His beloved Son sacrificed so very much to make the bond possible. And the Holy Spirit ever works within our hearts to move and to motivate us toward the mutual blessedness for which we exist. God made us for joy, the joy of Himself, and of the good things He gives that lead to the joy of Himself.
"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent."
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