True Happiness in Christ

The excellency of Christ is such, that the discovery of it is exceedingly contenting and satisfying to the soul. The inquiry of the soul is after that which is most excellent. The carnal soul imagines that earthly things are excellent; one thinks riches most excellent, another has the highest esteem of honour, and to another carnal pleasure appears the most excellent; but the soul cannot find contentment in any of these things, because it soon finds an end to their excellency.

Worldly men imagine, that there is true excellency and true happiness in those things which they are pursuing. They think that if they could but obtain them, they should be happy; and when they obtain them, and cannot find happiness, they look for happiness in something else, and are still upon the pursuit.

But Christ Jesus has true excellency, and so great excellency, that when they come to see it they look no further, but the mind rests there. It sees a transcendent glory and an ineffable sweetness in him; it sees that till now it has been pursuing shadows, but that now it has found the substance; that before it had been seeking happiness in the stream, but that now it has found the ocean.

—Jonathan Edwards,
The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:932–933.


A Piece of Heaven

A contented Christian carries heaven about him

For, what is heaven, but that sweet repose and full contentment that the soul shall have in God? In contentment there are the first fruits of heaven. There are two things in a contented spirit, which make it like heaven.

  1. God is there

Something of God is to be seen in that heart.

A discontented Christian is like a rough tempestuous sea; when the water is rough you can see nothing there; but when it is smooth and serene, then you may behold your face in the water.

When the heart rages through discontent, it is like a rough sea, you can see nothing there, unless passion and murmuring; there is nothing of God, nothing of heaven in that heart: but by virtue of contentment, it is like the sea when it is smooth and calm, there is a face shining there; you may see something of Christ in that heart, a representation of all the graces.

  1. Peace of soul is there

O what a Sabbath is kept in a contented heart! What a heaven!

A contented Christian like Noah in the ark: though the ark were tossed with waves, Noah could sit and sing in the ark.

The soul that is gotten into the ark of contentment, sits quiet, and sails above all the waves of trouble; he can sing in this spiritual ark; the wheels of the chariot move, but the axle-tree stirs not; the circumference of the heavens is carried about the earth, but the earth moves not out of its center. When we meet with motion and change in the creatures round about us, a contented spirit is not stirred nor moved out of its center.

The sails of a mill move with the wind, but the mill itself stands still, an emblem of contentment; when our outward estate moves with the wind of providence, yet the heart is settled through holy contentment; and when others are like quicksilver, shaking and trembling through disquiet, the contented spirit can say, as David, “O God my heart is fixed” (Ps 57:7), what is this but a piece of heaven?

—Thomas Watson


Waiting on the Lord

We live in the day of the unprecedented instant. The world has never known instant like we do.

We have Google (which in a search for “instant” renders “About 1,610,000,000 results” in 0.24 seconds). We have mobile phones, digital photography, instant messaging, texting, and broadband Internet connectivity. We have access to books, music, news, weather, stats, and movies on demand. We have fast-acting medications, instant food, and instant drinks.

And do we honestly think that these things will have no meaningful effect on the way we process life?

The more we become accustomed to the “instant” the more impatient, inattentive, and discontent we become in the whole of life. Perhaps more than ever we are people who “hate” to wait on anything. We hate lines, traffic, and slow connections.

These trends have a tendency to foster spiritual impatience, inattentiveness, and discontentment. Discipline in the various means of grace that the Lord has so lovingly given us becomes more and more difficult when existential gratification can be known so instantly.

One of my most self-recited Psalms is 25:4-5:

      Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
      teach me your paths.
      Lead me in your truth and teach me,
      for you are the God of my salvation;
      for you I wait all the day long.

The phrase that arrested my attention this morning is found in the last line, “for you I wait all the day long.” One simple concept, which appears so foreign to my world.

This is not an isolated reflection of those who love the Lord. We are told in Ps 27:14: “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” Again, “Wait for the LORD and keep his way” (Ps 37:34). “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (Ps 130:5). The Proverbs remind us, “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.” (Pr 20:22).

Our waiting on the Lord speaks of our resting, trusting, and looking for His answers and will in our life. It speaks of our contentment in Christ, of our attentiveness to Christ, of our satisfaction and fulfillment in Christ that yields patience and perseverance to live for Him. Those who wait on the Lord in true faith are renewed in spiritual strength to do His will while they eagerly look forward to His work (Is 40:31). Waiting involves the inner essence of our being, our very soul. This ought to be the response of our heart when answers are wanting, feelings are lacking, and circumstances are troubling.

Too many in our fast-paced life, becoming more and more instant, struggle with feelings and seemingly lack the desire of the Lord in their life. We would do well to remember David’s testimony: “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Ps 40:1). We should remember Jeremiah’s cry, “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” (La 3:25). And Micah’s resolve, “But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” (Mic 7:7). May we say with Isaiah, “In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul.” (Is 26:8).

Waiting on the Lord is worship. The Lord says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’” (Ps 46:10). May we this day, be more deliberate, more intentional, more purposeful in our thoughts, actions, reactions, words, attitudes, and overall stewardship of life on earth. In all that we do, may we “be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him” (Ps 37:7).

-Pastor Manny

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