I have recently been working my way through Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven (Kindle Edition. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2011). It is a very inspiring work, drawing the reader to think deeply about what we Christians should be looking forward to. While much of it is future-oriented, there was one thing that struck me deeply that is very much present-oriented.
During his meditation on the fact that the best part of Heaven is that we will continuously be in the presence of God, Mr. Alcorn points out the following: “Because God is the ultimate source of joy, and all secondary joys emanate from him, to love secondary joys on Earth can be—and in Heaven always will be—to love God, their source.” (Kindle Locations 3368-3370) Quoting 1 Timothy 6:17, Mr. Alcorn asks, “If [God] provides everything for our enjoyment, we shouldn’t feel guilty for enjoying it, should we?” (Kindle Location 3372) What this said to me was that I should feel free to enjoy anything that is good; and there are many, many things that are good, like a well-written, clean book, a sporting match, time spent with my wife and children or with close friends, a tasty meal, or a beautiful vista. In this I should realize that God is deriving pleasure from the pleasure that I am experiencing by enjoying the good, lavish gifts He has bestowed upon me! The thought that God would be pleased when I am is so heart-warming and delightful that I actually find myself tearing up. God wants me to enjoy life. He wants me to enjoy good things. And my enjoyment makes Him happy. That is truly freeing!
Some may warn against making the pleasure an idol and that is a danger in this world, especially when it comes to things we take pleasure in that are not good. However, actively considering that God is pleased when I legitimately enjoying a good thing can be a safeguard to not idolize what I am enjoying. Regardless, let us enjoy the good, lavish gifts the Good Gifting Giver has bestowed upon us and bring Him joy.