My fellow Pilgrim Pals,
I know that many of us are in tough seasons and whether or not we are in Spring, Fall, Summer or Winter in our lives, please be encouraged that it is only a season. There is coming a time very soon where we will no longer be pilgrims in this dark world. We will soon be with Jesus and once there, oh man…..the joy we will experience, the rest, it will be pure bliss.
In the mean time, think food. Think water. Think air. Think sleep. Now, envision in your mind a burning desire for God that so far exceeds your desire for all these things, that they would appear to be insignificant to you.
How do we get that desire? We begin to faithfully and consistently do the things we may feel like doing least in our pursuit of God. Though we may not feel like it, we need to practically go after God in ways that outwardly show He is more important to our than food, water, air, and sleep.
This means waiting on Him and seeking Him through prayer and worship and meditation upon His Word. This means choosing to trust Him when you feel like doing it least. This means serving Him by reaching out to the lost and serving the saints when you would rather not do so. Then something wonderful will happen: you will begin to actually desire God more than food, water, air, and sleep.
Even if all you do for months is confess to God that you do not desire Him more than these things, and consistently and continually cry out to Him to give you this kind of desire for Him, you are on the right track, and it will come.
I do not know of any man or woman who sought God in this way and in the end did not become absolutely addicted to the Lord. No one! However, I know of many men and women who say: "I want it, and I don't have it." But when I ask them if they are going after God in the manner I described above, they all say: "no." When I ask them why not, they usually say that it is because they don't have the "feelings" or the "drive" or the "time" they need to be able to do that.
This is where they prove that they have chosen to be slaves to their emotions and circumstances rather than masters of their wills. That is what it will come down to. You will either rule over your spirit, or you will be ruled and acted upon by your emotions and circumstances.
Don't let that happen! "Think Water. Think air. Think sleep. Now envision in your mind a burning desire for God that so far exceeds your desire for all these things, that they would appear to be insignificant to you."
Now just remember, you are not about to try out an experiment. There is no doubt that if you do the biblical things I described (which are already spelled out in God's Word), you will glorify the Lord, and you will impact others around you.
Think of it: Even if you became master of your will and began pursuing God today, in the manner I described, and ended up dying next week (before any supporting feelings or desires came), will that not still mean that you became a man or woman who passionately pursued the Lord? A man or woman who glorified God and touched others?
Think of it: You will have been in constant and continual communion with God (even if it meant that you mostly cried out to Him to create in you a great desire for Himself); you will have been demonstrating your trust in Him (because you were crying out to Him to help you when you felt like it least); you will have been proclaiming His precious gospel to the lost (resulting in seeds being planted and watered, or souls being saved); you will have been loving the saints by serving them through praying for them and meeting their needs (which will bring about blessing, encouragement, and edification in their lives).
Would you be ashamed to die in that state? Will that last week of your life have been spent in vain? You see, we are all too often consumed with needing to have supporting feelings in order to sense that the things that we did for God and others were valid. Honestly, that's a bunch of rubbish.
Do you think your prayers for yourself and others are going to be any less effective because you didn't feel like praying when you did? Do you think you are going to disappoint the Lord because you cried out to Him earnestly and honestly about wanting more of Him, while humbly confessing to Him that you lack this desire? Do you think that the lost man who gets saved because you preached the gospel to him will be any less grateful if he discovers you didn't feel like sharing the gospel with him when you did? Will the saint whose need you met be any less grateful if he discovers that you went out of your way to serve him, even though you didn't feel like doing it. Do you think that if you did all these things, even while you did not have supporting emotions, that it will result in God being disglorified and others being untouched (even yourself)?
There will be much time for unhindered pleasure and euphoric feelings in eternity. For now, let the joy of the Lord sustain you as you pursue Him with all your heart, even though you may not have any supporting feelings.
God may give you those supporting feelings in his own good time; and on the other hand, He may not. That is really none of our business. Let us be about our Father's business.
Here is the real question: Do we pursue the Lord and serve others for the sake of getting some kind of feeling out of it, or do we do it out of a desire to glorify the God who created us and redeemed us? Do we not do it out of glad and loving obedience towards Him and out of genuine care for others?
When Paul was hungry and naked and suffering from sleeplessness, beatings, shipwreck, I guarantee you he wasn't feeling good. But He kept pursuing God and was sustained by the Joy of the Lord (a fruit of the Spirit) and his passion to glorify God and serve others. Now think of all the saints that suffered all the same sorts of things throughout history. Do you think they ultimately allowed themselves to be controlled by their feelings (or lack thereof) in the midst of their pursuit to glorify God and serve others? No! They pressed on in doing these things, all the while sustained by the joy of the Lord.
And as our final example, how did the Lord of Joy handle making the greatest and most difficult of all sacrifices, when he felt like it least? Well, the events in the garden of Gethsemane shed great light on the matter. In that dark and lonely garden He cried out to the Father that, if there was any way possible, that dreadful cup would pass from Him. Was he feeling good about going to the Cross? In His agony, He sweat great drops of blood over the thought of it. But He bore it; and He bore it well.
Why? Because: "For the joy set before Him, He endured the Cross!" And because he always did those things which pleased and glorified the Father. Go thou and do likewise! And it is no doubt true, as John Piper has often said: "God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him." And we are never more satisfied in God than when we are bringing Him glory, than when we are passionately pursuing Him as the source of supply for our every need and our every pleasure.
"Think food. Think water. Think air. Think sleep. Now envision in your mind a burning desire for God that so far exceeds your desire for all these things, that, in comparison, they would appear to be insignificant to you." Now, be master of your will and not slave of your emotions and circumstances, and pursue the Lord with all your heart (even when you don't "feel" like it)!
Bill Scott, Sr.