Bono & life, happiness, and pleasure
I m up very early Sunday mornings to fine-tune my messages. Here s what I m teaching today (anyone can use this if you want). It's taken from PSALM 16:11 (click on it!). 1. God makes known the path of life: This is not about making known how I should behave. It s not like God gives me a detailed blueprint of how I have to live. He shows me a path, and I am free to walk it. Interestingly, to enter the path of life, Jesus said the gate is very narrow, and few find it. My painting THE NARROW WAY (click on it!), graphically depicts this struggle. But once we pass through the gate of death to self, the path is like an open pasture. 2. There is full joy in his presence: Joy isn t an automatic attitude for Christians. It isn t natural to us. It is in God s presence. This is where it gets mysterious, because God s presence isn t static, but dynamic. God seems to come and go, for various reasons. And sometimes, it isn t the real me that is in his presence, but my false self. Here s an applicable quote from Bono: When I wake up in the morning, I sort of put my hand out spiritually and I reach for what you might call God. Sometimes I don t feel God, and I feel lonely. I feel on my own, and I wonder where God is. And then (pause) again, I don t want to be melodramatic about this I ask God: Where have you gone? God usually replies in a way that is hard to describe: I haven t gone anywhere. (laughs) Where have you gone? I haven t moved. Then I have to check, and I realize that I have somewhere sold myself out. It usually happens incrementally, in tiny steps. You never betray yourself at least I never betray myself in big dramatic bold moves, like: OK, this morning, I m going to rob a bank, and find out where my enemy lives and tie him to his bed. You slowly move from that person that is most like you (BONO, p. 356). 3. All pleasures are in God s right hand: Again, it is not a guaranteed given that the pleasures are in MY right hand. They are in God s to dispense with as God sees fit. We d love to believe that we have the control over pleasure, love, possessions, money, sex, friendship, etc., but if we are honest, we have to admit that we really don t have control over these things. They are gifts. David doesn't see himself in a direct causal relationship with life, joy, or pleasure. He is one step removed from them. He sees himself, rather, in direct relationship to God, the giver of these things, and realizes his enjoyment of all these things depends on God.