GOD IS MY GOOD
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Somehow, in the eighties, a good portion of the preaching came off of the rails. It seems every sermon preached (including most of mine) was focused on all of the earthly things the Lord would give us because He loved us. The sense of the message was that following God was good because it enabled us to live our best life now. The reward of spiritual choices was earthly things. The big problem with that thinking was this; earthly things can never satisfy our hungry hearts. We were made for far greater things than that. Humans were created by God with a need for eternity in our hearts, nothing less than God Himself will do for us. In the early nineties, the Lord began to pour out His Spirit on His church again. Out of that outpouring, many of us discovered that our message was wrong, God Himself was the gospel, not the good things He would do for us. During that season I was introduced to John Piper and Jonathan Edwards. Here is a quote from Piper’s book “God’s Passion for His Glory”, where he describes the God centered message of Jonathan Edwards.
“The love of God for sinners is not his making much of them, but his graciously freeing and empowering them to enjoy making much of him. As Edwards says, “God is their good.” Therefore if God would do us good, he must direct us to his worth, not ours. The truth that God’s glory and our joy in God are one radically undermines modern views of self-centered love. God-centered grace nullifies the gospel of self-esteem. Today, people typically feel loved if you make much of them and help them feel valued. The bottom line in their happiness is that they are made much of.”
I love that, the bottom line of our happiness is not that we are made much of by God, it is that we have been given God Himself as our portion in this life. One of the Christian cliches that I often think of is this, “God is good”. This is said with the expectancy of the refrain, “all the time”. Every time I hear that saying now I am reminded of the words often spoken by Jonathan Edwards in his sermons, “God is my good”. Can you see the difference? It may be subtle but it is hugely important. The “God is good” cliche rings of the self centered gospel of self esteem, God is good because He gives me what I want. When I hear “God is my good” it changes everything. I suddenly become aware that God Himself is the reward, He is the treasure hidden in a field, He is the pearl of great price, He Himself is my exceeding great reward. The next time someone greets you with “God is good” join with me in the refrain, not “all the time” but “GOD IS MY GOOD”. This changes everything.