Before we go on to the peculiar longings of the christian, we must look at the nature of christian happiness. The root and fountain of this happiness is love for God. It is a mark of maturity in our spiritual lives when we find in ourselves a true love for God Himself, not just for what He has done for us in the gospel, but a love for God Himself. The natural man, in his unconverted state, can do many things by his own efforts in the way of reformation of character and conduct. In every person who is born again, born of God, there will be a reformation of character and conduct, yet, reformation is not conversion. Reformation is a work of man, but conversion is a result of the new birth: a work of God. The main difference between the person who is born again and and the person who is not, is that the born again person is able, however feebly, and it is feebly at best, to truly and sincerely love God. This is something which the natural man cannot do.
Usually this love centres on God the Son, who came into this world as a man, and suffered and died on the cross in the place of sinful human beings, in order to bring them into a relationship of love and friendship with God. He is our blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, now ascended to the right hand of God the Father where He ever lives to represent us, or, as the bible says, ‘intercedes’ for us: “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25)”.
Sometimes this love centres on God the Father. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said to them, “After this manner therefore pray ye; ‘Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name’ Matthew 6:9”. One of many texts which indicate that there is now a special Father/child relationship between believers and God the Father. We may add Galatians 4: 4-6: “God sent forth His Son….to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father’(same word in two different languages)”.
We have a very special relationship, of course, with the Holy Spirit. As soon as we are saved, He comes to dwell within us, applying to us the benefits of all that Christ has purchased for His people on the cross. Our bodies become the ‘temple’ (dwelling place) of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit working within that enables us to love God.
This new love for God eventually develops into a love and adoration of God as triune, the great ‘Three in One’, the impenetrable mystery, which is beyond our finite minds to understand. However, that fact that we cannot understand the Trinity must not cause us to abandon meditation upon the wonder of the Trinity. We would be doing ourselves a great spiritual disservice if we did that. Christians ‘grow’ in the christian faith by meditation upon mysteries, such as the mystery of the person of Jesus Christ, the God/man, and the Three-in-One nature of the eternal God. These things feed and satisfy the born again soul, and lead to that greatest of human experiences: Love for God, and the enjoyment of Him.
We will get to the longings which result from love for God next time, if the Lord will.