I’ve been taking a course online over the last month and a bit, and I hit a bit of a wall. In the course we are taught a little about The Dark Night of the Soul, a season in life where we find very little pleasure in pursuing God’s heart. We may be reading our Bible, praying, worshipping, going to Church and all of this, but to be frank it is: tough going.
We just don’t feel like it.
One of the aims of the course is to explore the purpose of these seasons and help believers understand the work God is doing. So we can be encouraged and encourage others.
The course guides us to consider that God is weaning us of the ‘pursuit of spirituality for pleasure’s sake’.
It is here that I hit a wall. So I stopped reading and started thinking through why this troubled me.
It wasn’t long before I identified my main obstacle.
Belief 1 (from before the course): God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.
Belief 2 (from the course): Pursuing God for pleasure’s sake is immature.
So how can I reconcile these beliefs, are they compatible. Is one true and one wrong. What does wisdom say? Pen and paper out, Bible opened up.
I wrote down the beliefs more fully on a notepad:
Belief 1: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Therefore, God promises pleasure to those who pursue Him (Psalm 16:11)
Belief 2: Pursuing God for pleasure’s sake is immature. Therefore, God uses seasons of “Desolation” to teach us to pursue Him for His sake rather than pleasure. (James 1:2-3)
Then I asked myself some questions: What motivates me to pursue God? What should motivate me? What do I want to motivate me? Is there scripture to back up these reasons.
- I pursue God for my sake and He is glorified in this (Exodus 33:12-19)
- I pursue God because it is Right and He has taught/convinced me of this (therefore I cannot boast!) (1 Corinthians 1:28-31)
- I pursue God for His Glory’s sake and His glory fills the earth (Isaiah 6:3-8)
Perhaps both beliefs are true, and yet, incomplete without each other. I would phrase slightly differently to demonstrate this:
Belief 1: God is glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, He is gracious to fulfil His promises of pleasure to those who pursue Him.
Belief 2: Pursuing God for pleasure’s sake alone is immature, though it is not necessarily wrong. Oftentimes, God will uses seasons of desolation/dark night of the soul, to teach us to pursue Him for His glory’s sake.
I hope this helped. Why do you pursue God’s heart?