2021 Family Camp’s Morning Devotion – To Enjoy God Forever
Dear BPCWA worshipper, As usual, I would like to summarize the family camp messages to recapture the key points for the important purpose of solidifying the lessons we need to learn. This also serves as a useful summary for those who could not attend the camp. I will start with the summary of our morning devotion messages “To Enjoy God Forever”, followed by the thematic messages thereafter.
What does “to enjoy God” mean? Last year, we covered the first part of the Westminster Catechism’s statement that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”. However, the second part of the statement is often nebulous to many of us. What does it mean? The Westminster writers base this second part upon Ps 73:24-26. So, to enjoy God is not about deriving pleasure for ourselves, like how we enjoy our favourite food or enjoy a hobby we like. It is more about admiring, rejoicing in, and being filled with awe about God. Why do I not have this biblical enjoyment of God in the first place? The Psalmist came to a state of awe of God when He came to realise more clearly about Who God is, His Ways, and His Works. So must we. But the Christian cannot decouple this enjoyment of God from glorifying God because “. . . whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). We saw this principle in Ps 27:4 as well. So, to enjoy God is not for self-gain, but it is about being passionate about and to delight in glorifying Him. We saw from Ps 73 and Ps 27:4 that this meant being passionate about perceiving (knowing) Him, praising (admiring), pursuing (seeking) Him, and pleasing (obeying and serving) Him. This delight, desire, and relish to glorify Him comes from knowing Him, being in awe of Him, and hence as a result we cannot but desire Him and exalt Him. So in short, what is meant by “to enjoy God”? It is to be passionate about and delight in glorifying Him in everything that I do in life.
Why is it important to enjoy God? Glorifying God focuses on your responsibility, while enjoying God focuses on your relationship with God as we live to glorify Him. The former emphasizes duty, and the latter delight. Hence, if you do not delight (enjoy) in glorifying God in this biblical way described earlier, then over time, you will fulfil your chief end in life as a mere burdensome task. But if you build a loving relationship towards God (the first and great commandment), you will delight (enjoy) in glorifying Him. This loving relationship ignites and makes your greatest and chief pleasure in life to be that of exalting Him both now on earth and forever in eternity.
What affects my enjoyment of God? To enjoy God is to enjoy seeing Him pleased. To enjoy myself is to enjoy seeing myself pleased. The distractions of this life and what we treasure more than God will affect this biblical enjoyment in glorifying God. The Psalmist’s heart cry in Psalm 27:4, “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 enquire in his temple.” His chief desire is to know God’s glory (Who He is), find out everything he can about God, including what His Will and His Ways (commandments) are. When there are other “one things” that you desire of God for yourself, you will not delight in your pursuit to glorify God. When what you enjoy and desire for yourself is not fulfilled, you will get disappointed. But when you learn to be like the Psalmist, ie you have no other desire but to pursue His will (ie please Him in obedience because you enjoy doing His will), then whatever God allows or disallows, you are still very joyful. In fact, after you “inquired” and He shows you His will, you are very glad that He has made known His desires, you joyfully go all out to fulfill His will with delight. I used the example of God cancelling our physical camp at the very last minute with the COVID-19 post lockdown restrictions. The committee had no complaints. Once the team knew God’s revealed will, they set off with passion and zeal to do God’s will to set up an online camp instead. If having an online camp pleases Him this year, our pleasure is to see Him pleased. What is the “one thing” that you desire of God and that you will seek after? Fame, finance, fleshly pleasures, marriage, health, etc?
I hope that with a better understanding of what it means to enjoy God forever, each of us will begin to put into practice what we have learnt in not just merely fulfilling our duty, but delighting in a relationship with God that brings Him glory. Next week we will look at Christian hedonism. This topic cannot be ignored when we speak of the chief end of man, because it frequently comes up in many Christian writings, sermons, and thoughts, whenever the chief end of man is covered.
Yours in our Lord’s service,