Friday, October 30, 2009


This term isn't one I invented. I actually read it many years ago in Sam Storm's excellent book; "Pleasures Evermore: Life-changing Power of Enjoying God". I brought it at Stoneleigh Bible Week and read it and I don't think I could quite "get" the phrase. I liked it. Just couldn't allow myself to get over how "selfish" it sounded.

I remember once some of us tried to introduce the beautiful song; "My Jesus - My Saviour" at my home church in Dunstable when it was fully into it's functional cessationism. The answer from the elders was; "No - it's too "me" centred". Hymns were promoted as being "Him-centred". I know that certain church circles still promote such a view and ban beautiful songs such as "Draw Me Close to You" in favour of more liturgical hymns (who can drearily forget the Charles Colson row?!). I was amused to listen on my IPOD to a Grapevine live worship interpretation of "O for a thousand tongues to sing". A wonderful hymn and a glorious live atmosphere. But for a "theological hymn" - it says "me" quite a bit too ...

Anyway - that's beside the point. I don't see why the two have to be split. I love gloriously, well-sung hymns and I love short, emotive songs of worship and intimacy. Why have to have one without the other? My point is this:

Unless we first and foremost enjoy God through glorious encounters with Him then we will never effectively reach the lost.

I know - there are so many caveats to that. God is sovereign etc etc. But look at salesmen. The most effective salesman is one who actually personally enjoys and believes in his or her product. You can tell the sales pitches that just don't quite ring true. Why should Christians be any different? I know the analogy falls down drastically. We are not selling a product - we are witnesses to a glorious living Person. But how can we be "witnesses" to Someone we have never personally encountered or Someone we are passionate about enjoying and living with?

Marriage is a glorious picture of Christ and His Bride. I believe that with all my heart. But how disgusted we would be with a husband who speaks unenthusiastically and rather bored with his wife just after their honeymoon. We would decide they are heading for divorce rapidly! I love nothing more than hearing Rob Rufus speak about his wife Glenda. I don't know why - it just thrills me. They've been married for 30 years and yet Rob is besotted with Glenda. Just so - I loved seeing Terry Virgo dance with Wendy at "Together on a Mission" in 2007 when I was last there. To see couples who have been married for years and adore each other still is a true testament to what we should be like with God.

I want to re-state my love for Lex Loizides beautiful song; "It is for me". I was running on the treadmill listening to the glorious lyrics;

"This is for ME - this blood of Christ, washing all MY stains,
Breaking all MY chains - this is for ME, this death He died,
Taking all my sins and giving ME a chance to live again!".

And what is wrong with allowing that truth to thrill? That before time and eternity God the Trinity decided that you and I would be created and born - and that God the Son would willingly lay aside His majesty and go to the Cross to suffer and die that we might be reconciled to Him! That we might "boldly approach the eternal throne"!?

Mark Heath wrote a post recently called; "False Dilemmas - Discipline vs Delight". I liked Mark's conclusions but while I was running I felt I heard God speak and say how much He actually despises "duty". John Piper uses his famous example frequently saying how utterly insulting it would be to deliver flowers to his wife and say; "I did it because it's my duty". Any husband who says that to his wife DESERVES the slap she should rightly give him.

So how DARE, DARE, DARE the church proudly and self-righteously exalt in it's "duties". How DARE Christians parade around recounting how they adhere to the spiritual disciplines? How DARE Christians even assume that God is pleased with this? Anything that does not stem from delight and adoration in God surely is nothing but blasphemy. Jesus Christ Himself said it most accurately and succinctly; "I wish that you were cold" ... rather than lukewarm.

How do we become passionate for God? Well - again back to the marriage analogy. How do you become passionate about someone you love? You spend time with them. You think about them. You fantasise about them. You speak to them. You enjoy their presence. You buy them gifts because of how it makes YOU feel good! John Piper said;

"The way to become white-hot for God is to draw near to a white-hot heart for God - and there is none hotter than God Himself".

So my prayer is; "Draw me close to you - never let me go!".


jul said...

Beautiful post Dan, and I'm so with you on the duty thing...of course God hates it!

janelle said...

I wish there was a "like" button for blog posts. VERY well written and expressed Dan.

Dan Bowen said...

Thanks Julie and Janelle - you two sisters are SUCH an encouragement to me, walking faithfully with me through highs and lows and patiently listening to my rants and disappointments as well as rejoicing in the highs and thrills of life in God. :) Love ya both!

Ha ha - there speaks a true "Facebook" fan! Yes - a "like" or "dislike" button would be good .... ;)

The Lewis Family said...

Awesome! So true!!! How dare indeed! I am tempted to post a select portion of this blog and post it on my facebook page and watch it get a rise out of some old bible college mates! Ooh the temptation. . .