Sunday, March 27, 2011

Is God Tasty?

While in college, Jim Elliot once wrote this journal entry (and please excuse all the grammatical errors):
“To that soul which has tasted of Christ, the jaunty laugh, the taunting music of mingled voices, and the haunting appeal of smiling eyes- all these lack flavor- and I would drink deeply of Him. Fill me, O Spirit of Christ, with all the fullness of God.”

Aside from the fact that the punctuation and phrases in these lines just beg to be edited, I like the message he tries to get across here. And, in all honesty, much of my journal entries lately have reflected this same plea to God for more than the average daily pleasures.

It can be enchanting, really- the sound of mingled voices in a crowd of laughing people, smiling at one another, filling themselves with one another’s company. Who does not want to be a part of this type of atmosphere? Whether you are more comfortable in a crowd of familiar faces or a small group of tightly knit friends, there is something enchanting about having fun in the company of beloved. Laughter is a good, and there is a time for it. Smiles are good, for God created them. But does the enchantment of another’s presence cause us to forget about the presence of God?

It is good to have true Christian fellowship. The first believers in Acts were “one in heart and mind,” sharing possessions and spurring one another on to love and good deeds. But somewhere along the way, I think we have forgotten what it means to truly fellowship. And this is where I have become uncomfortable.

There was a time when I found myself constantly seeking love and friendship- I had some love, but it was not enough. I had some attention, but I craved more. Solomon calls this “meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” But to a young woman, just wanting someone to talk with when her grandma died or to call her on a lonely Friday night, looking for love did not seem meaningless. In fact, I felt entitled to it. Soon, the “taunting music of mingled voices and the haunting appeal of smiling eyes” became an idol- I craved it, and nothing would satisfy unless I was surrounded by friends who loved me, talking about whatever came to our minds. Nonetheless, the Lord soon brought me to the realization that “better is one day in His courts than thousands elsewhere.” Even when surrounded by friends, our conversations can be meaningless- for in those moments, we often forget God.

If I have truly tasted the goodness of Christ (and He is so good), my attitude will give way to a craving for Him. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1) How often do I pant for God? I pray that I will drink deeply of Him. In the fast-paced barrenness of our busy lives, we spend our time and words just keeping up with everything. Rarely is there time to spend with conversation and thoughts meditating on the goodness of God. For a soul who has truly tasted the goodness of Christ, there will be an endless pursuit for another drink of Him.

Obviously we do not “drink deeply” of Christ by just locking ourselves up for life to study and pray. God wants us to be in the world, living as light. So how then can our conversations (with believers and non-believers) teach us to drink deeper of Him? “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Eph. 3:2) “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” (Eph. 5:19) So basically, we should all run around singing to one another. Just kidding. But really, when we are filled with the Spirit and seek to drink deeply of Him, our mouths will speak the overflow of our hearts. John MacArthur describes it this way:
“Being filled with the Spirit is living in the conscious presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, letting His mind, through the Word, dominate everything that is thought and done.”

As we go about our daily tasks, encountering many conversations and circumstances, how can we learn to desire the presence of God more than the presence of man at all times? After all, better is even one day in His courts than a thousand, million, bajillion days elsewhere!

I've found that, when I ask these big questions, I find more questions than answers. Speak, Lord.

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