Today's 'thoughts' come to you from Thomas Watson (1620-1686), and are found in a recent devotional book containing various selections from his writings. The book is entitled "Glorifying God - A Year Long Collection of Classic Devotional Writings by Thomas Watson." It was complied and adapted by Patti M. Hummel.
Watson was an English Puritan who was widely read in days past, and both inspired and mentored (through his many books) the great Charles Spurgeon. In fact, what Spurgeon says of one of his books could summarize most every one he wrote: "This is a happy union of sound doctrine, heart-searching experience, and practical wisdom." Today's selections have to do with glorifying God by being cheerful and delighting in Him. Enjoy.
"Serve the Lord with gladness." (Psalm 100:2)
"It brings glory to God when the world sees a Christian who is cheerful in the worst times; who, with the nightingale, can sing in the dark of night as well as the light of day. The people of God have many reasons to be cheerful. They are justified and adopted, and this creates inward peace, and makes music in their hearts, whatever outer storms may be buffeting them. If we consider what Christ has done for us by His blood, and wrought in us by His Spirit, it is a reason for great cheerfulness, and this cheerfulness glorifies God.
It reflects upon a master when the servant is always drooping and sad. It speaks of his life being hard because his master does not give him what is fitting. When God's people hang their heads, it looks as if they do not serve a good master, or have fallen from their choice to follow Him, which reflects dishonor upon God.
As the gross sins of those who claim to be believers bring scandal on the gospel, so do the uncheerful lives of the godly. Our service to God does not glorify Him unless we do so with gladness. A Christians cheerful looks glorify God. Our Christian faith does not take away our joy, it refines it. It does not break our violin, but tunes it and makes the music produced by it even sweeter."
"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him..." (I Peter 1:8)
"God is a delicious good. That which is the chief good must ravish the soul with pleasure. There must be in it a rapturous delight and quintessence of joy. There is certain sweetness about God's person which delights, even ravishes, the soul. God's love drops such infinite sweetness into the soul that is unspeakable and full of glory.
When we delight in God even though we see Him only by faith, what will our joy be when we see Him face to face? If the saints found so much delight in God while they are suffering, oh what joy and delight will they have when they are being crowned!
God is a superlative good. He is better than anything you can compare with Him. He is better than health, riches, and honor. Other things maintain life, He gives life. Who would weigh anything on a scale opposite the Deity? Who would weigh a feather against a mountain of gold? God excels all things more infinitely than the sun outshines the light of a candle.
God is an eternal good. He is the Ancient of Days, yet never decays nor grows old (Daniel 7:9). The joy He gives is eternal, the crown does not fade way. The glorified soul shall forever comfort itself in God, feasting on His love, and sunning itself in the light of His countenance. God is the chief good, and the enjoyment of God is the highest contentment any soul is able to know."
The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, along with its answer, are well-known to many. Question: "What is the chief end of man? Answer: "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
Yet John Piper is well-known for changing two words in that answer and suggesting it should instead be: "To glorify God by enjoying Him forever." In fact Piper goes on to suggest: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." Who could disagree? It fits perfectly with Watson's thoughts.
We glorify God most fully when we show the onlooking world that God fully satisfies our soul. And in keeping with that, what better visible expression is there of that satisfaction of soul than a cheerfulness that radiates from our countenance?
Of course, we are not to fake smiles, or pretend to be cheerful when we are not -- for that would dishonor God as well. Likewise, Watson and Piper are not suggesting we will never have down days where we must work through sorrow or disappointment. But I believe they are suggesting we should not get stuck there.
In fact, when we find ourselves there, our aim should be to seek His face with all our hearts, reflect on all He has done for us, bask in His comforting presence, call to mind all His infinite perfections, and feast on the Gospel truth of His incomprehensible and irrevocable love for us in Jesus. We are to let the remembrance of His great grace toward us warm our hearts, stir our souls, and dispel the gloom that can overtake us when we focus on our circumstances, instead of our merciful and wise Father in heaven who loves us and grows us through them.
Blessings on your day, Pastor Jeff