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Pure Delight

Success in missions is often misunderstood. While external hindrances—linguistic, cultural and logistical obstacles—need to be overcome, our own hearts are often the greatest obstacles to our success in missions.

Real success in missions lies in God conquering our hearts with His expressions of delight and glory. Real success in missions lies in our willing return of those same expressions of delight and glory back to Him. In order to do that our hearts need to change. God needs to do His work in us before we do His work for others.

It could be argued successfully that the most important fruit in evangelism or “outreach” is the evangelism of one’s self. In short, we need to constantly refresh our understanding of His glory. In The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God, John Piper begins chapter one with an amazing statement:

“A great part of God’s glory is his happiness. It was inconceivable to the apostle Paul that God could be denied infinite joy and still be all-glorious … . He used the phrase, ‘the glory of the happy God,’ because it is a glorious thing for God to be as happy as he is. God’s glory consists much in the fact that he is happy beyond our wildest imagination.”

What is God happy about? He is delighted with Himself, most assuredly. He is delighted with His plans and He is delighted with His children. If we have any joy in ministry, any consolation in difficult ministry, it is that God is delighted in us. We are His treasure. If we have any message of hope for those lost in sin, it is the same: God is delighted in His children.

What is the greatest challenge in my ministry? To know God. I want to know God. I want to delight in Him as He does in me. In sermon number 1751, Spurgeon wrote:

“Now, a babe in grace knows 20 things, a young man in Christ knows 10 things, but a father in Christ knows one thing, and that one thing he knows thoroughly! It is very natural for us, at first, to divide our little stream into many rivulets, but as we grow grey in grace, we pour it all into one channel—and then it runs with a force efficient for our lifework. I trust I know many doctrines, many precepts and many teachings—but more and more my knowledge gathers about my Lord even as the bees swarm around their queen!”

What is “a force efficient for our lifework?” Delight in God! How can we measure success in missions? Delight in God! Everything else flows out this: His delight in us, and our delight in Him.

This was originally published in The Journey devotional. Jud Lamos serves with MTW as the director of the 18.26 Network.

Jud Lamos, Reflection Mar 22, 2018
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