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Increasing our desires after God

It was one of CS Lewis’ great insights that our desires are not too great but too small. He said we were like children making mud pies in a puddle when there was a whole sea to swim in. He contrasted the coloured blue paper in atlases indicating oceans with the real wet deep thing, shallow enough to splash around and deep enough to drown in.

He nailed the sinful inclination in our heart to reduce… God’s love and plans for us must be less than we long for; God himself is less enjoyable than our reckless sinful pleasures; God can’t possibly increase our satisfaction and contentment in him; and following God is bound to mean missing out … thus our wretched deformed thinking.

But the Lord, who is without beginning or ending, is a Being who is endlessly fascinating, astonishingly and newly creative each day, delightfully loving us and his world with no fading of his commitment.

And when he calls to love and follow him he bids us dive deep.

And all that is Good, True and Beautiful in the world testifies to this spectacularly captivating God. Around each corner is a wonder and the whole earth is “charged with the glory of God” (GM Hopkins).

There is more though. It is in the Lord Jesus Christ, his incarnation, his ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, coming again in glory, and his never failing involved intercession for us from day to day that we see the fulness of God, and the amazing love he has for each of us. This is life and glory and joy. Knowing him then in this immensity is not a duty so much as a full-blooded delight, a stunning and astonishing privilege, whereby we are lifted up out of the pits of our own shame, and get to share the eternal life and fellowship of the Holy Trinity itself.

David in Psalm 103 talks to himself ( and that by the way, far from being a sign of insanity, is a measure of the rudest soundest health of mind and spirit) and checks himself to make sure he doesn’t forget ALL the Lord’s benefits- his forgiveness of sins, his healing of body and mind and heart, and his renewing power.

This is the way to live. Magnify the Lord so that he appears bigger than all your sins and pettiness, than all your wrong thinking. Of course, you can’t actually make him bigger than he really is - but our desires for him must increase and appetites after him must massively thrive so that we are not mistaking the paper of the map for the real blue energising ocean.

I came across this great prayer which is a good summary of what I have been trying to say:

“Take our minds, and think through them. Take our lips, and speak through them. Take our hearts, and set them on fire with love for thee. What we know not, teach us. What we have not, give us. What we are not, make us. For Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.”

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