How To Enjoy God in Everyday Life
How To Enjoy God in Everyday Life
We all want to be happy. It’s even written into our Declaration of Independence. But our right to happiness wasn’t invented by a bunch of guys in white wigs 240 years ago. It’s a desire God built into us. Look at what David sang to God in Psalm 16:11: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
In other words, it’s a good thing to seek joy, happiness, and pleasure. It’s what you were designed to do. And you can find joy in lots of places, but as David says, there’s nowhere you can find fullness of joy except in God’s presence. You can find pleasure from lots of different things, but there’s nothing that will give you pleasures evermore except God’s presence. You need to be in God’s presence if you want to be really happy.
But you can only go to church so often. You can only go to so many Bible studies. You can only read your Bible and be alone in prayer for so long. At some point you need to go to work. You need to make dinner for the kids. You need to take your car in for a safety inspection, and go to Costco for a 100-roll pack of toilet paper. You need to live your everyday life.
So how do you stay in God’s presence then? How do you find fullness of joy? How do you keep pursuing pleasures forevermore, even when you’re stuck in the doctors office waiting room for half an hour, and you’ve got no reception on your phone, and the only thing to read is a Good Housekeeping from 1997? How do you enjoy God in your everyday life?
That’s the question David had on his mind when he wrote his last song. In Psalm 145, one of the most striking things is how many different words he uses to talk about enjoying God. Extolling. Praising. Commending. Meditating. Pouring forth. Singing aloud. Giving thanks. It’s almost like he’s going through his thesaurus, looking for more words he can use to talk about the incredible experience of being with God. One word can’t do it.
He says, “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:1-2). David praises God because he enjoys God. As C.S. Lewis said, “We delight to praise what we enjoy.” Why? “Because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment.” If you enjoy something, you praise it. When you go to some awesome new restaurant, you can’t wait to get on Yelp and give it a 5- star review. You can’t wait to put a picture up on Instagram. #bestsushiever. What is that? It’s praise. You’re just naturally praising the things you enjoy.
And David says he’s enjoying God and praising God every single day. Not just when he goes to church. Not just when he’s around a bunch of other people who expect him to praise God. Every day. In his everyday life. He’s learned the truth of James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from athe Father of lights.”
Everything good in this world has been given to you directly by God. No matter who’s the one who actually gave it. If you get a promotion at work? That’s a good thing. But it’s not your boss that gave it to you. It’s God. If you get a tax refund you weren’t expecting, it’s not the IRS that gave it to you. Every good thing you experience is a direct gift from God. The awe-inspiring experience of hiking out to Makapuu Lighthouse and seeing whales breaching all around you. The movie that you want to watch over and over. The album that gives you chicken skin every time you listen to it. The NFL player you just can’t get enough of. Everything you enjoy in this world is a gift from God.
So how do we learn to identify his gifts and enjoy God’s gifts? David gives two very practical suggestions in Psalm 145.
1. Categorize God’s goodness.
As John Piper often says, God’s doing ten thousand things in your life right now, and you’re probably aware of three. So you need a little prompting to reflect on all the different ways that God has shown his goodness. When David sat down to write Psalm 145, he wrote down all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet on a piece of parchment, then he tried to think of a different way that God had shown his goodness for each letter of the alphabet.
What a great idea! Sometime soon, sit down and write all the letters of the alphabet down on a piece of paper. Then think of some way you’ve seen God’s goodness in your life for each letter. Don’t get up until you can think of 26 things.
2. Talk about God’s goodness.
Remember what C.S. Lewis said? Praise completes the enjoyment. Think about it. If you go to the Grand Canyon by yourself, it’s a lot less enjoyable than if you take along some family and friends. Then you can ooh and ahh together about the incredible things you’re seeing. Because the more you talk about something, the more you enjoy it! That’s why David said in the song that we should “speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom” (Psalm 145:11-12).
We need to talk about his mighty deeds if we’re really going to appreciate his mighty deeds. So join a community group and tell everyone what you’re celebrating this week. Talk to your friends at work and tell them about how God’s blessed you. Talk to your kids. Talk to your wife. Just keep talking about God’s goodness. Because the more you talk about him, the more you’ll enjoy him.