Sometimes difficulties in life are hard to categorize; often there are people who find themselves in situations that others find obliviously fine. I’d define my outlook to life as sullen yet joyful. Don’t read that wrong, I did not say depressed; I’ve never been what one would call depressed. I’m introspective by nature and entirely purposeful in my interactions. It comes with my worldview; inherently Christian.
Some see people’s general disposition in two ways: Eeyorish and Tiggerish.
In other words constantly depressive or constantly bubbly; one always downtrodden and the other entirely optimistic and excited. I have two friends that seem to fit this mold quite well; though I’m sure there is much I don’t see nor even know that would counter my perceptions.
And that’s just it, they are my perceptions. No one fits these types of people all the time. There is an ebb and flow to life we don’t see. Perhaps that’s why Paul commends Christians to, “weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.”
We never see the inner workings of other people’s minds in what drives them to do, act, and come across the way they do in various circumstances in life. I wish I could know all those close to me what exactly is going on in their minds in what brings them to be who they are. But, it is not the way life works, and I highly doubt someone would want to get that close to me to share those highly personal details with each other (my mind is a bastion of confusion to more than myself).
Just this last week I was nearly ready to go on an undetermined hermit hiatus. One where I never go out and do anything (except to church on Sunday). I can’t explain it here; there is just too much. Most of it is irrational and I can convince myself out of it, but this time it was just too much.
I have a close friend and brother at my local church that we share morning texts for people/things we pray for. We hardly ever ask for prayer for ourselves; the other day however, I asked to pray for more joy, for me.
I was in one of those sullen moods, he knew full well. Then God came in a big way.
It isn’t often God answers prayer so quickly and obviously. You see, my friends made this book for me with regards to a specific occasion. Unbeknownst to me they gave it to me over coffee. In this custom book were quotes from many who expressed their gratitude and love of what me, being in there lives meant. I read these quotes aloud to the six present. It was my own test in humility, and I only made it a few in before I couldn’t help but cry.
The amount of joy it brought me to, I trust was felt by them all. And it gave me a greater resolve to strive forward toward that upward call in Christ. Not that I have gotten there yet, not looking at what lies behind, but looking at what lies ahead.
In concert with that, I’ve been reading Jonathan Edwards’ The End For Which God Created The World. I leave this post with an extended quote from that treatise.
And the glory of God is spoken of as that wherein consists the value and end of particular graces. As of faith. Romans 4:20: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Philippians 2:11: “That every tongue should confess that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Of repentance. Joshua 7:19: “Give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him.” Of charity. 2 Corinthians 8:19: “With this grace, which is administered by us, to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind.” Thanksgiving and praise. Luke 17:18: “There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Psalm 50:23: “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.” Concerning which last place may be observed that God seems to say this to such as supposed, in their religious performances, that the end of all religion was to glorify God. They supposed they did this in the best manner, in offering a multitude of sacrifices; but God corrects their mistake, and informs them, that this grand end of religion is not attained this way, but in offering the more spiritual sacrifices of praise and a holy conversation [style of life].
In fine, the words of the apostle in 1 Corinthians 6:20 are worthy of particular notice. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his.” Here, not only is glorifying God spo- ken of, as what summarily comprehends the end of religion, and of Christ redeeming us; but the apostle urges, that inasmuch as we are not our own, we ought not to act as if we were our own, but as God’s; and should not use the members of our bodies, or facul- ties of our souls, for ourselves, but for God, as making him our end. And he expresses the way in which we are to make God our end, viz. in making his glory our end. “Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his.”
Here it cannot be pretended that though Christians are indeed required to make God’s glory their end; yet it is but as a sub- ordinate end, as subservient to their own happiness; for then, in act- ing chiefly and ultimately for their own selves, they would use themselves more as their own than as God’s; which is directly contrary to the design of the apostle’s exhortation and the argument he is upon; which is, that we should give ourselves as it were away from ourselves to God, and use ourselves as his, and not our own, acting for his sake, and not our own sakes. Thus it is evident, by the ninth position, that the glory of God is the last end for which he created the world.
[ God’s Passion for His Glory; Living the vision of Johnathan Edwards (with the complete text of The End For Which God Created The World), John Piper, 1998, Crossway, pgs. 196–198]