December 11, 2016
Led by Light to His Dwelling
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; And on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God
God is a God of light and truth and exquisite beauty. Anyone who has a taste for these things will be drawn to God, and the more powerfully we love these things, the more God will mean to us. If we wish to be strongly motivated in our devotion to God, then we must intensify our love for the qualities that God possesses. There is no use trying to keep on serving God if the virtues that characterize God are not things that appeal to us.
Psychologists tell us that many of us are “loss averse,” meaning we experience more pain from our losses than we do pleasure from our gains. Thus the fear of negative consequences is, for many of us, a more powerful motivator than the desire for positive consequences. When it comes to our spiritual motivation, we don't want to go to hell more than we do want to go to heaven.
Perhaps this is true. I remember the World Series one year. After the final out in the hard‑fought final game, the television camera showed the heartbroken scene in the losing dugout: some players had their faces buried in their hands, others had tears streaming down their cheeks. The announcer let the scene speak for itself for a moment and then, himself a former major league player, said, “Losing hurts more than winning feels good.”
It need not be this way, however. We need not spend our lives simply moving away from things. There are wondrously great things to move toward, and we need only cultivate our taste for them to be powerfully drawn by their attraction. In a sense, this is the very challenge of the Christian life, to learn a new, deeper set of loves. In another sense, however, these loves don’t need to be “learned.” They’re already there as a result of our creation in God’s image. We just need to be more honest and openly acknowledge the things that move us most deeply. The darkness is to be avoided, yes. But even more than that, the light is to be loved. The Lord is to be worshiped “in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).
The human soul hungers for beauty — to experience beauty, and to create beauty — just as powerfully as our bodies hunger for food. Our souls wither when they are beauty‑deprived.