Does it qualify by expectation or benefit?

Because I want this, God must also want it. Have you ever caught yourself espousing this? Or maybe, like me, far too many times you have tried this one on for size: Because everyone expects this, it must be central to God’s great agenda for me.

But maybe all these musts and have-tos of our lives are not as essential to our lives as they seem to be to our hearts. Whatever our hearts can live with our bodies and minds can abide. But how deceptive our hearts are in laying the blame of our reasoning for what’s best on these two.

We know what we would like to enjoy, so we decide that unless God gives it, we will not be amply provided for. What a lie! We do not want to see what God has for us, but we cover up our rejection of Him by claiming that He has rejected us in withholding from us what we idolize.

But why is God not good enough for us? Why does He have to fit into the molds of delight that we are already familiar with? Why can’t He be brand new and exciting like all these scattered things once were to us? Why do we find nothing wrong with charging Him as a mess rather than ourselves?

God is confusing to us because we don’t understand how He can be selfless, and yet set on Himself at the same time. I presently translate selfishness in another as something that must automatically benefit me in my selfishness. But, Oh, this is so far from the truth. Christ the Truth does not know a holiness that encourages sinfulness.

Holiness is a credit to He who possesses it, and God brings glory to Himself on this account. By basing His justice on this quality of character He mystifies us. When He could have fully suppressed our sin-rebellion with righteous judgment, He chose instead to set Himself between us and our Judge; to absorb from Him our wrath-payment in full.

What kind of God is this who knows not a duality of sin and sinlessness, but holiness and mercy? Mercy He willingly extends to those without holiness that He might perfectly display Himself as the sole possessor of this essential holiness.

Therefore, having Him for my God, I will ask for Him to do the work of holiness in me and not be distracted from it by the loud petitions my heart makes for happiness. Happiness has nothing of value to offer me, unless it is under-girded by a manifestation of holiness — Christ within me and Christ transforming me.