So what am I trying to do with that question? If it’s risky to ask a question like that, leaving possible misunderstandings, why would I use it? Why would I go around forcing this issue? Do you feel more loved by God because he makes much of you, or because he enables you to make much of him?
I do it because I’m trying to help people. I’m trying to help you now tonight exchange what’s at the bottom of your joy. I want you to exchange self at the bottom of your joy with God. I want God to be the bottom of your joy and self to move out of that position. That’s what I’m after in asking that question.
Let me clarify what I mean by the bottom of your joy, why am I using that word, what do I have in mind, what’s the picture? I have a picture in my mind and I hope you can keep it in yours once I give it to you.
All of our joys have a foundation, except one. So any happiness that you have in something has a foundation, except one, the one that has no foundation, that’s the bottom.
Let me give you an example. You make an A on a test, it makes you very happy. That’s understandable, I think that’s good. And somebody asks you, I ask you, “Why are you happy about making an A on a test? Who cares? Why are you happy about making an A on the test?”
And you say, well because, it could be a lot of answers, it’ll make Mom and Dad happy, or “I love the praise of my teachers,” or you might say, “It’s decisive, it’s going to be key in getting
into graduate school in psychology,” you might say that. That’s a step down now. Here was a test, you made an A, got happy, that made you happy.
But if someone asks you why, then underneath it is, “It’s going to get me into graduate school.” So I’m going to ask you, “Why does getting into graduate school make you happy?” And you would say, “Perhaps, because I’ve always had the dream of being a clinical psychologist and I can’t be one unless I go to graduate school in psychology, so that’s why the A leading to the graduate school makes me happy, because then I can be what I’ve dreamed about being.”
And then I would ask you: “Take it down a level. Why do you want to be a clinical psychologist — why does that make you happy? Why is it such a feeder happiness?” You might say, “Because I have had some experience with my Mom and Dad. We got a lot of help, and I would love to help people. It makes me happy to think about the possibility of helping people by knowing them that way and giving God’s perspective on how their mind works, and their emotions work and their relationships work. That would make me happy.”
So now we’re down about four levels. And then I would ask, “Why does making people happy or helped make you happy?” Now, we’re very close to the bottom, aren’t we? And the bottom is where there aren’t any more answers, you’re just at the bottom. And where you end up as you penetrate down in your life, to the bottom of what makes you happy is who you are. And there are two possibilities down there. Making much of you, or making much of God.
And the goal of this message is to be used by the Holy Spirit to remove making much of self as the bottom and replace it with making much of God, or just simplify self versus God at the bottom.
So only you and God know your hearts and how they work right now — what makes you happy. All those things are happinesses and they all have foundations, and one foundation has
no foundation: God or self. That’s what we’re after. That’s what that question is designed to illuminate.
So I’m going to ask it again: Do you feel more loved, or I could say, Do you feel happier because God makes much of you, or do you feel more loved, happier, because God enables you to make much of him? To enjoy making much of him?
I am not denying that God makes much of you when I say that; I’m forcing a ranking. I’m forcing the issue of the rank — the order at the bottom. So get down to the bottom of your life, there’s a ranking. I’m not denying either of those.
It’s a glorious thing to be enabled by the atonement by the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be freed from self and make much of God as your supreme joy in life. And it’s a glorious thing to delight in being made much of by God. Everything hangs on their ordering. Their ranking. Their being the bottom or not. That’s what I’m after in that question.
Do you enjoy worshiping God, making much of God, because at the bottom, this God that you’re worshiping is committed to making much of you? Do you enjoy worshiping God, making much of God, because underneath, at the bottom, he’s committed to making much of you? That’s idolatry of the worst kind.
Or do you enjoy God’s making much of you? I’m going to tell you about seven ways he does in just a minute, enjoy God’s making much of you because it shows you the kind of God that he is. It enables you and equips you and transforms you so that you can actually see him for who he is and love him for who he is and treasure him for who he is and be satisfied in him for who he is, that’s the bottom. Those are different people. Different worlds. Different destinies. That’s what I’m after in that question.
I want to hit people in the face with the deepest issue of their lives that takes a miracle to change, it’s called the new birth. Why does this matter so much to me? Why does getting the bottom of our joys such a big deal to me?