There was a time when I thought the verb “enjoy” and the noun “God” should never be used in the same sentence. I could understand “fearing” God and “obeying” God, even “loving” God. But “enjoying” God struck me as inconsistent with the biblical mandate both to glorify God, on the one hand, and deny myself, on the other. How could I be committed above all else to seeking God’s glory if I were concerned about my own joy? My gladness and God’s glory seemed to cancel each other out. I had to choose between one or the other, but embracing them both struck me as out of the question. Worse still, enjoying God sounded a bit too lighthearted, almost casual, perhaps even flippant, and I knew that Christianity was serious business.
Then I read Jonathan Edwards (1703-58). Something he said hit me like a bolt of lightning. I’m not a Christian Hedonist because of Jonathan Edwards. Scripture always has and will remain the final authority in my life. But Edwards helped me to see that God’s glory and my gladness were not antithetical. He helped me see that at the core of Scripture is the truth that my heart’s passion for pleasure (which is God-given and not the result of sin) and God’s passion for praise converge in a way that alone makes sense of human existence. I should let you read it for yourself. Outside of the Word of God, it’s the most significant and life-changing utterance I’ve ever read:
“Now what is glorifying God, but a rejoicing at that glory he has displayed? An understanding of the perfections of God, merely, cannot be the end of the creation; for he had as good not understand it, as see it and not be at all moved with joy at the sight. Neither can the high