Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Timeless Truth

It is entirely wonderful to find a single profound truth woven through many lives and over many centuries. Such discoveries highlight the powerful nature of such a truth as it permeates languages, cultures, and time.

Although there are many, here are the 3 means by which I've most clearly perceived this devastating truth:

1) The Scriptures, penned by various inspired servants of God.

2) Men, who lived in centuries long past, who put powerful truths into profoundly simple statements. These have helped to clear away the cloudy vagaries which would endeavor to hide such treasures.

3) The lives of those who have lived in such a way to declare by their very lives, and in some cases also by their deaths, that this is truth.

This single truth saturates the below quotations and Scripture verses:

All men seek happiness this is without exception. This is the motive of every action of every man.
- Pascal

Jeremiah 2:11-13
Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

The men of this world are children. Offer a child an apple or a banknote and he will doubtless choose the apple. - John Newton

Isaiah 55:2
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.

- Augustine

Matthew 13:44-46
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Philippians 3:7-8
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalm 119:72
The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
- C. S. Lewis, The weight of Glory and Other Addresses

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

- Westminster Catechism

I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord.

- George Mueller

I find the entirety of the above list to be sharing a common theme: unbreakable and unspeakable joy comes uniquely from a relationship with God, who alone can ultimately satisfy the human heart. (Sound familiar? I know, it's review.) How amazing it is that our God has gone through such incredible lengths to reveal such truth. Thousands of years are not too long to ensure that God's people get an appropriate view of His truth.

Proverbs 25:2
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.


John said...

I love these quotes and verses, especially Jeremiah's. Christian joy, unbreakable joy, is something we don't hear enough about.

mwh said...

When and how were you first introduced to this idea?

Unbreakable Joy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unbreakable Joy said...

John Piper’s book, Desiring God, was instrumental in helping me to see this. Brian Hedges was a great help for me here too. I found myself being changed as I marinated in several means of grace like sermons from Piper and Hedges, and fellowship with God’s people, and great books.

You’re probably familiar with Piper’s recurring theme of Christian Hedonism (pursuing your highest pleasure in God – which is the greatest antidote to the other poisonous pleasures of this world) - this was a great medicine to my soul. How easy it was for me to remain on the throne of the affections of my heart, all the while believing in God and having some level of affections for Him. In Piper’s books I began to taste and see more-so-than-ever that God is good. The more I tasted of His goodness the more I delved into these books with a solid rock foundation of Christ-centeredness. Although every book I’ve read by Piper has benefitted me in some way the most impacting were: Desiring God, The Dangerous Duty of Delight, The Pleasures of God, Future Grace, God’s Passion for His Glory, and God is the Gospel.

I simply cannot underestimate the value of marinating in this God-glorifying and heart-satisfying truth. There were also very difficult and God-designed circumstances that caused me to see that in many cases I was in fact worshipping myself by pursuing my happiness in other things than God (which, by grace, I found to be idolatry as a violation of the 1st Commandment).

This was a tremendous example of how God allows suffering and trials for His reasons. It is a perfect example of God working all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

This God-wrought change in the ultimate worship of my heart has transformed my life, healed my marriage which was heading towards divorce, and radically satisfied my soul.

Brian G. Hedges said...

This has been life-changing for me, too Ben. It's always exciting for me to see someone else get passionate about this!