Because God is Infinitely more Delightful
Church Father Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, wrote in his Confessions, “Our souls are restless till they find their rest in [God].” Far from making a doctrinal statement, Augustine experienced a restless life, tossed about by raging lusts and passions. He never found satisfaction. He never found rest. He never truly experienced pleasure until God saved him and revealed his glory.
Many find themselves lost in the tumult and chaos of their passions and lusts. Escaping the burning desires of the flesh seems as impossible as escaping a building consumed with fire at all exits. The smoke of the fire burns us within. We feel helpless and lost. Though we want out of the flames, we sense there is no place for us to run. Our passions are too strong, like a blazing inferno with no hopes of being extinguished.
Yet Augustine, a man wrought with a life of burning lusts and passions, found relief. God rescued him from the lesser and damnable pleasures of lust by revealing the infinite wonders, delights, and glories found in knowing him. God saved Augustine from his lust. He can save you too. When we realize the resplendent riches of God, even the strongest impulses of the passion of the flesh fade as our souls become enamored by the glorious God of the universe.
In Psalm 37, David writes, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” God, through David, commands us to delight in God. The command is not for us to delight in the things God has done, though we should. Nor is the command to delight in the things that God could do. God commands us, rather, to delight in him.
In Psalm 27:4, David prays an astonishing prayer that displays the gripping power of delight in God. He writes, “One thing have I asked 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 gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” David could have asked God for anything. Yet his soul is gripped by one desire as he seeks after one thing: to be where God is – to be amazed by the magnificence of God’s presence.
In fact, when David lost sight of the delight he enjoyed in God, it led David to lust after Bathsheba and commit adultery. Lust led David to an atrocious series of events that destroyed his family and ended with David murdering his best friend. In Psalm 51, however, David repents of his sin. Despite the atrocities of his lust, in that psalm of confession, David asks of God something astonishing in response to his sin. He writes in verse 12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” David knew that the root of his sin was a loss of joy in his God.
When we begin to struggle with lust, or any sin for that matter, I would suggest that at the heart of the struggle is a loss of delight in God. Remember, Augustine said our souls are restless until they rest in the true source of joy and comfort. David knew this all too well. Though David was a man who delighted himself in the Lord, when he let his soul wander from what his soul was made for, he fell.
Likewise, we were made to delight in God. You were made to gaze upon him and to cry out in worship at His glory. What an amazing calling and gift of God! He made you to be a creature of delight by delighting in the greatest delight in the universe – God himself! He created you to experience delight, to experience joy! He made you for that purpose. John Piper rightly contends that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” What a glorious calling! God made you not to perform, not grind out works under his oppression. God made you to glorify him by enjoying him.
When joy diminishes, Satan attacks. He sows seeds of lies and tempts you with poisonous fruit. Though pleasing to the eyes, it will kill you. This is the issue with lust. Lust is pleasurable… but only in the moment. Lust and all its passions draw us precisely because they appear beautiful. If they were not delightful, we would not be tempted towards them. This is the deadly deceit of lust: it promises a pleasure it cannot give that can only be had in God.
David writes of God, “In your presence there is fulness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). He also said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Consider God’s Word. Let his Bible nourish your soul with truth. God is far more satisfying than the pleasures lust. Do you see the joy promised to you in God? In him is pleasure. In him is true delight. Satan only kills. God gives life through the joy of delighting in him.
Article By: Cory Higdon