under a special agreement with
presents "God's Great Salvation"
under a special agreement with
Lesson 16: How to Enjoy God (Part 2)
God wants us to enjoy the great salvation which we have in Christ now! This salvation takes us out of the place of judgment and puts us in the very presence of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul said,
"For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we wake [live] or sleep [die], we should live together with Him." (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
What wonderful verses these are! Christ died for us, that, whether we live on in this life or die, we should "live together with Him." How this touches the heart!
Where is Christ living? He is living in "the Father's house." That is where we are to live together with Him.
"The Father's House" is our Home for Eternity
In Luke, chapter 23, we have the account of the crucifixion of Christ and the two thieves. One of those thieves believed on the Lord. His eyes were opened and he saw Christ as the Son of God, dying for his sins. He saw Jesus as King and turned to Him and said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." Jesus said to him, "Verily [truly], I say unto you, Today you shall be with Me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
This man went from the lowest, deepest, darkest place of misery and suffering into the brightest, holiest, most blessed place of everlasting happiness and joy with the Lord Jesus. This is the salvation which Christ has obtained for every believer by His death.
The Lord Jesus was not satisfied with just saving us from God's wrath; He has obtained "the Father's house" for us.
One day we will actually be in "the Father's house" in our resurrection bodies. This is our eternal home. The moment we die, we pass from the darkness and suffering of this world into the actual presence of the Lord, in "the Father's house." Paul said,
"We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8)
"The Father's House" is our Home NOW
The great salvation which we have obtained by our Lord Jesus Christ is a complete salvation. As to the past, that has been taken care of. As to the future, that is absolutely assured.
What about the present time? By Christ's death, we are entitled to live in "the Father's house" now. We are not yet in heaven, but we can enjoy heaven now.
What is "the Father's house" for us now? It is living in the conscious enjoyment of God's love, enjoying Him, knowing that we are the objects of His love. It is knowing that we are in His presence, with absolutely nothing between us that would hinder our enjoyment of Him. God wants us to enjoy Him now!
The Bible says that God has made us alive together with Christ, raised us up together with Him, and made us sit together with Christ in heavenly places. God's object in this is that we might live together with Christ in "the Father's house." It is in our spirit that this can be realised and enjoyed now.
We all know what it is to experience a terrible storm, with high winds, thunder and lightning. But all storms are on the surface of the earth. When we ascend to a height of six or seven miles, we find that there are no storms, only a perpetual calm.
God wants to lift us above the "storms" in our daily life. We all have responsibilities down here, and we get worried or anxious about our problems. But God would lift us up in spirit above the "storms."
A good motto for us, spiritually speaking, is what one Christian brother had on his door:
We ought to know what it is to "live" above, in "the Father's house." We are again reminded of the cobbler of whom his wife said, "He lives in heaven and only comes down here to mend shoes!"
The Holy Spirit brings us into the joy of "the Father's House" now
The Holy Spirit has come down from the glorified Christ to make known to us the glory and the joy of the place where Christ is. He has come down to bring us into the enjoyment of "the Father's house." Jesus said,
"He will glorify Me, for He will take what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you." (John 16:14-15 NKJV)
We are not yet in heaven, but in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, we can enjoy the presence of God and the joys that come from heaven. The Bible says,
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)
The Father is delighted when we enjoy His house now
It is a wonderful day for us when we see God's side of salvation. God brings us into His house and gives us the place of sonship, not just for our joy and happiness, but for the satisfaction of His own great heart of love. We are in "the Father's house," in all the acceptance of Christ, because the Father wants us there!
The story of the prodigal son shows us the nature of our salvation. God has given us the place of sons. We belong in "the Father's house." God wants us to enjoy His house, His presence, and His table.
When we come to the end of the story of the prodigal son, what do we find? We find the prodigal, made suitable to his father in every way, sitting at his father's table, enjoying his father's love, and enjoying his father. The Bible says, "They began to make merry."
This is a picture of our portion and place as sons of God! God is doing all of this to satisfy His great love for us. It is His delight to have us in His presence, enjoying Him and all that He has provided for us.
Steps to Enjoying God
There are a number of practical things that you can do to help you enjoy God.
* Settle all controversies with God.
Many believers fail to go on with God because they have some controversy with Him. Usually God deals with us about one matter at a time. We may agree with Him in a hundred other matters, but He keeps bringing us back to this one particular thing.
If you have a controversy with God, you might as well face the fact that you will not enjoy God or make any progress in your Christian life until you say "Yes" to God in this matter. Sometimes it takes God ten, fifteen, twenty, or more years to bring a child of His to the point of doing what He wants him to do.
You cannot afford to waste your life like this. If you are not honestly willing to do what God is telling you to do, at least you can say to Him, "Lord, though I am not willing to do this, yet I am willing for You to make me willing." If you are sincere in this prayer, God will begin working to change your heart.
* Declare your faith at the start of each day.
One of the happiest Christians I have ever known gave me this secret: He said that he began each day by saying to the Lord words to this effect:
"Lord Jesus, You died for me, and in Your death I died. I died to sin, to Satan, and to the world. I was buried with You. I rose again with You in newness of life. I ascended with You, and I am seated with You in heavenly places. You sent Your Holy Spirit to live in me, and the life that is in me today is Your resurrection life, dead to sin, and alive unto you."
(James C. Richardson)
For years now I have followed this brother's advice, and it has been a great blessing to me. I like to add the verse Galatians 2:20 at the end:
"I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (NET Bible)
* Think rightly about yourself.
Do you know what it is to be "a son of God"? It is to be the object of God's love and delight. Some of God's dear children like to say, "We are such poor, sinful creatures. We are of no account to God. We are not worthy of all the things God has done for us." This may appear to be humility, but this is not pleasing to God.
The prodigal's father was pleased when his son accepted the best robe, the ring and the sandals. He was pleased when his son sat at his table and enjoyed all that His love had provided for him.
Likewise, God is pleased when we accept graciously all that His love has provided for us. Someone has said, "If God has made you a prince, do not pretend to be a beggar."
God has made us His sons. We are "joint heirs" with Christ of all that God has. God is pleased when we think rightly of ourselves, when we know who we are and live in the privilege and dignity of being His sons.
* Deal with sin and guilt.
We cannot enjoy God if we are holding on to some sin in our life. God loves us, but He hates sin. He hates it in the life of a child of His. Whatever that sin is, that wretched thing that is so displeasing to God, give it up! If you do not give it up, it will rob you of your joy. If you want to enjoy God, you must maintain a clear conscience toward God and toward other people. Paul said,
"I myself always strive to have a conscience without offence toward God and men." (Acts 24:16 NKJV)
If you have sinned against God, confess that sin to Him and count on Him to do what He says He will do. The Bible says,
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
If you have wronged someone, go to that person and make things right. Do not make excuses or say, "I know I was wrong, but you were wrong too." Confess your part fully. You can say something like this: "I was wrong in _______ (name the sin). Will you forgive me?" If they say "Yes," you might ask, "Do I need to say any more about this?" Deal with the matter thoroughly.
If you need to make restitution, do this at once. Make things right, then go on. Don't "whip yourself" by going over and over your failures.
* Obey God.
Determine that you will obey God, whatever the cost. Begin now! Do the next thing that you know you should do. Believers are obeyers! The Bible says,
"Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." (1 John 2:3)
You cannot enjoy the Lord if you do not obey Him. It is to those who love and obey Him that the Lord Jesus manifests Himself. Jesus said,
"The person who has my commandments and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him." (John 14:21 NET Bible)
* Faithfully attend and support a local Christ-honoring church.
It is God's will that believers assemble regularly with others for ministry of the Word, for fellowship with other believers, for the Lord's Supper, and for prayer. Nothing can take the place of this. The Bible says,
"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…" (Hebrews 10:23,25)
Confess your faith publicly. Do not be ashamed of Christ. If you have not confessed Him in water baptism, do so at once.
* Rejoice in God's grace.
Those who go on happily and brightly with God always remember deeply the grace by which they were saved. The apostle Paul never forgot the grace of God that was shown so abundantly to him. He said,
"The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (1 Timothy 1:14-15)
* Praise Him.
Praising God will enable you to enjoy Him. He is worthy of all our praise. It is by praise and thanksgiving that we "enter into His gates" and "into His courts." The Bible says,
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100:4-5)
* Set your affections on things above.
The new life which God has given us is resurrection life. It is life on the other side of death. We died with Christ, we were buried with Him, and we rose with Him in newness of life. We are new persons in God's new creation.
If we want to enjoy our new life in Christ, we must set our affections on the things of God's new creation, not on things of the world. The Bible says,
"If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:1-2)
If we are looking to find satisfaction for our heart in earthly things, we will surely be disappointed. The Bible says,
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)
We cannot be too careful as to the influences which we allow to act upon us. We are affected by all that we see, all that we hear, and all that we read. We may not be aware of what is happening to us, but before we know it, the damage is done.
A Christian is a "Christ-one," and anything that is not consistent with our relationship with Christ must be rejected.
* Be content with God and what God provides for you.
There is no happiness without contentment. A man may be very rich and have everything he could wish for, but if he is not content, it spoils everything. The secret of contentment is realising that God and what God provides for us is all that we need. The Bible says,
"Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and rainment [clothing] let us be therewith content." (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
* Bring God into everything.
The way to enjoy God is to bring Him into everything in our life. God is the Source of all supply for us, and He has committed Himself to us. God is saying to us, "I am the blessed God, and I delight to make Myself known to you in all My love and power."
Throughout our life, no matter what God has done for us, there are things that have to be refused if we are to enjoy God. At the end of his wonderful epistle, John wrote, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." (1 John 5:21)
An idol is anything that keeps you from enjoying God and His love. We can test everything in a simple way: Does this bring God into my life or does it shut Him out? If it shuts Him out, it is an idol.
* Get your priorities right.
Your relationship with God is the most important relationship in your life. If you do not spend time with God, you do not love Him very much.
To enjoy God, you must spend time—much time—alone with Him, reading and meditating on His Word. It is time alone with God, in the enjoyment of His love, that gives us the consciousness of His love for us.
One of the greatest mistakes a Christian can make is to let work and activities crowd out time alone with God. The children of Israel had to gather their "manna" every morning, and so must we. It is in our daily time alone with God over His Word that we are fed.
A daily Quiet Time with God is not something that you can take or leave according to your personal preference. It is absolutely essential if you want to enjoy God and have your life count for Him. An honoured servant of God wrote,
"A life of victory hinges on three things; an initial act, a fixed purpose, and a daily habit.
The initial act is that of surrender to the Lord Jesus as Master. The fixed purpose is that of doing what will please Him, and only that, at every turn, in every matter, regardless of the consequences. The daily habit is that of spending a Quiet Time in prayer alone with the Lord over His Word.
After the initial act of surrender, the secret of a strong, winsome Christian life is in spending time daily alone with God over His Word in prayer."
Enjoy God and His love now. There is nothing you can do to win or deserve God's love. He loves you and accepts you because you are in Christ. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more than He already loves you right now. He loves you as He loves His own beloved Son. Read this for yourself in John's great gospel, chapter 17. Begin now to enjoy God and His love!
* God wants us to enjoy Him and His love.
* Am I enjoying God as much as I might?
What We Enjoy in "The Father's House"
God has made us His sons, and "the Father's house" is our portion. God invites us to enjoy His house. Let us consider some of the things we are called to enjoy in "the Father's house."
We are called to enjoy a celebration of grace.
God invites us to a great feast in His house. It is a celebration of God's grace. Grace means that God does it all. We do not need to provide anything. We come into "the Father's house" as His sons. We come to celebrate God's grace and to enjoy what He provides for us.
We are called to enjoy God's victory over Satan.
God has triumphed gloriously over His enemy and our enemy. We are called to celebrate God's mighty victory over Satan and all the powers of darkness.
"I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously…The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation…" (Exodus 15:1-2)
We are called to enjoy God's love.
It is a glorious day for a believer when he begins to consciously enjoy the love of God. God has made Himself known to us in His own blessed love and grace. The apostle John said,
"We have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)
God has brought me into His house for the satisfaction of His own love. He has made me entirely suitable to Himself. In Christ I am "holy and without blame before Him in love." I am at home in "the Father's house." I worship the Father. How good He is to bless me in this way!
We are called to enjoy Christ.
Christ is the Centre and the Glory of heaven. Every creature in heaven loves, adores and praises Christ.
To have our eyes opened to see the surpassing excellence of Christ and to love Him with all our heart is the beginning of what brings pleasure to God and what brings great joy to our heart.
God's perfect delight is in Christ, and we are called to enjoy what God enjoys. We can enjoy Christ now!
C.A. Coates said, "The end of all God's ways is to make Christ everything to us."