"Joy and Pleasure - His and Ours"
"Thou wilt show me the path of life. In Thy presence is fullness of joy. At Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).
Only in God can we find "fullness of joy" and "pleasures forevermore". Thus, the path that leads to Him offers us life in its truest and most heart-fulfilling potential and actuality. This we must believe about our Lord, and this we must seek to know in conscious and applied reality - "to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21).
Great challenge awaits us, however, as we seek to journey upon "the path of life". Our spiritual enemies ever work to hinder and distract us from attending to the One for whom our hearts exist. We face great conflict as we devote ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, including the waywardness of our own flesh, which "lusteth against the spirit" (Galatians 5:17). Thus, our walk with God along the path the includes only He and ourselves, but also malevolent entities who would keep us from experiencing the Life of our lives. We "wrestle" against such foes, the primary aspect of which involves remembering, affirming, and applying the Truth that Christ alone fully blesses our hearts with joy and pleasure (Ephesians 6:12). "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" (Psalm 23:5).
We also do not fully understand what it means to walk with God in living fellowship. Mention such a concept to many believers - or consider it ourselves - and false, fleshly notions of devotion likely come to mind. The aforementioned enemies are more than happy to offer us distorted understandings and expectations of what it means to live in consistent communion with our Lord. They would focus our attention on what we must do, or think we must do. Certainly a role exists for us in our relationship with God - "Seek the Lord… and His face forevermore" (Psalm 105: 4). However, those who walk with God in genuine devotion and experience realize that our primary response involves… response. "When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek" (Psalm 27:8). Just as subjects under an earthly king would not barge into his presence with noisy and unbidden bluster or wordiness, so must we not audaciously think that fellowship with God primarily involves our relationship to Him. We rather realize that He began our spiritual bond with Himself, He maintains it, and He motivates and empowers our response by His indwelling Spirit. "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6). His relationship to us - this constitutes the proper understanding and expectation of those who most genuinely walk with God, leading to humility and a far more consistent response to His presence and fellowship.
Finally, "for now, we see through a glass, darkly" (I Corinthians 13:12). In eternity to come, our brightest earthly moment wherein we experienced the joy and pleasure of God's presence will seem to have been shadowed twilight in comparison to His glory known then and there. Let us admit the truth. It is hard to presently walk with our Lord in consistently genuine fellowship. For the reasons mentioned above and many others, no greater challenge beckons us than the call to come, to commune, and to consecrate ourselves to the One who forever - and now - exists as the joy and pleasure of our chief delight. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father knows the conflict we face. Thus, He works with great patience to strip away any notion that some other other heart might fill and fulfill our own heart. The Lord also bears witness by His Word and His Spirit that our greatest motivation to avail ourselves of His presence involves His sublime desire to avail Himself of our presence. A wonder beyond all wonders, and that which which most infuses our hearts to respond, to come, and to please the One who finds joy and pleasure in us…
"The Lord taketh pleasure in His people."
"The prayer of the upright is His delight."
"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple."
Weekly Memory Verse
For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.
(II Corinthians 13:4)