The Westminster Catechism’s question and answer #1 is: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”
Do you personally “enjoy” God?
I enjoy certain foods because they taste good to me. I enjoy time with friends because the deep conversations and likeable personalities give me pleasure. I enjoy southern gospel music with harmonizing parts, (but can’t explain why). Yet, “enjoy” isn’t the word I’d use to describe my relationship with the Lord. So how does one enjoy God forever?
I asked many people this question and received a wide spectrum of answers. While unbelievers in the Trinity generally view God as a distant entity that lacks interest in this world, most Christians had to think before they responded. I heard vague replies like “knowing I have eternal life,” and “enjoying God’s promises,” plus “God should be revered more than enjoyed.”
The dictionary defines “enjoy” as “to take delight or pleasure in (an activity or occasion), to possess and benefit from.” After an introspective analysis and Scripture reading, I arrived at a two-part answer. The first is that enjoyment involves emotion; I enjoy how God makes me feel. I have comfort in that He knows everything about me and still loves me and wants the best for me. And His love fills me in a way no other person can, and it feels good. I have inner peace from never having to explain anything because the Lord knows my heart and mind better than I do. I can tell Him anything without fear of what He thinks of me. I’m confident of God’s love, knowledge, and power because I have been the recipient of His amazing miracles. Although my closest friend isn’t tangible, I feel His presence, hear Him speak to me, and have been on the receiving end of some wonderful gifts. That is a passive enjoyment.
The second part of enjoying God is living the abundant life, which underlies active enjoyment. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV).
I was reluctant to submit every area of my life to God and it took overwhelming adversity before I finally surrendered. After that deliberate submission, He showed me His power and brought me on adventures that I could never have imagined. I started to enjoy my life by trusting God to lead me instead of doing things my way. When you dedicate yourself to God’s will and let Him control the steering wheel of your life, He will take you places you cannot reach by yourself. And it’s fun, even exhilarating at times. If the Lord is your co-pilot, trade seats!
Jesus said when a believer loves and obeys His commands, His love will be in them and their joy will be complete (John 15:10-11). I didn’t understand this “joy” until I experienced it. When we become disciples of Jesus and wholeheartedly submit to His commands, He gives us both passive and active joy, and enables us to live productive lives that are purposeful. That is living an abundant life.
The dictionary also revealed that “enjoy” comes from the Latin word “gaudere” which means “rejoice.” Complacency doesn’t generate rejoicing, but serving the Lord, witnessing His supernatural activity, and experiencing His divine power certainly does. He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
Paul addressed those in this present world “to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17). And that’s just life on this tainted planet. The death benefits of a Christian are out of this world! There will be much more joy in life after death. Revelation 21:3-4 reveals the future of Christians, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” After Judgment Day, eternal life involves believers in Jesus Christ who will see God and fully enjoy Him forever.