The first question-and-answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism goes as follows:
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
The simplicity and depth of this statement is remarkable. Of the billions of things we might feel compelled to live our lives for, only one thing is truly end-worthy, target-worthy—our full delight in the glory of God.
But this shouldn’t only be the goal of the individual Christian life. It should also be the aim of our corporate life together. When we gather as the body of Christ, Sunday after Sunday, our chief aim should be to glorify God and truly delight in Him together.
What Delight Looks Like
All of us know what delight looks like. If you’ve seen the last five minutes of a home renovation show, or a shot of the crowd when their team hits the game-winning free throw, or the final song of an amazing concert, then you know what delight looks like. God made us with an impulse to praise what we find most beautiful. And while all people don’t show delight in the same way, all people delight in something.
Delighting in the glory of God means more than just knowing facts about God. Lots of people (even Satan and the demons) know facts about God. That doesn’t mean they love the glory of God. If you were to ask me why I love my wife, and my reply was, “Well, she was born in North Carolina, she’s 5′ 4, and she loves sports,” then you would probably think that my love for her is pretty cold. I know facts about my wife, but that’s different than loving her. Loving her means that I find delight in her.
However, while delighting in someone must be more than knowledge, it can’t be less than that. Delighting in the glory of God involves thinking accurately about who He is and knowing things about Him. If I gush over how much I love my wife, but then describe her as being 6’2 and a fan of arts and crafts, then I might love someone, but it’s not my wife! In the same way, we cannot stray from the truths found in God’s Word as we seek to know and love God. As Jesus told the woman at the well, the Father is seeking out worshipers who worship both in spirit and truth (John 4:23–24). In other words, what we believe about God must be both true and ablaze in our hearts.
True and Ablaze
This is the pattern that we see all over the Bible—truth about God that leads to an explosion of praise. After a sustained meditation on God’s choosing to graft in the Gentiles for salvation, Paul erupts in praise at the wisdom of God:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God
How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33–36)
Or listen to the words of the psalmist: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103) This is what it means to think deeply about God and rejoice greatly in what you see. Like these men, we too should pursue knowing accurate things about God so that we might love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
But here’s the rub: no worship leader or preaching pastor can make you delight in the glory of God. The Spirit must do this in our lives. What such pastors can do is offer a compelling vision of God from the Word. And they can lead us to listen to messages and sing songs that help us respond to this compelling revelation. They can lead us to enjoy God together.
The next time you gather for corporate worship, set your heart on seeing the glory of God in the Word of God. And as you see His glory, rejoice! Respond by delighting in the glory of God. And pastors, by the Spirit’s power, let’s strengthen the hearts of our people. Let’s compel them to see the breathtaking glory of our Triune God.