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Delight is Incomplete Until it is Expressed

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4

I remember the feeling of relief…

Heather was pregnant with Emi and I was bursting at the seams to shout it from the rooftops! It was early days, however, so we just shared the news with our parents, which was a necessary release of joy! What I hadn’t anticipated was how challenging it would be for them to hold that secret…we had got to share the news with them, but they weren’t allowed to share it with anyone else!

I once heard a somewhat cynical definition, that ‘a secret is something you just tell one person’. It can be so hard to hold news in, especially when it’s news of great joy!

That reminds me, have I shown you any photos of my surf trip to PNG yet?!

CS Lewis wrote a supremely helpful booklet called ‘Reflections on the Psalms’…in it he talked about his struggle with God’s commands in scripture to praise Him.

“We all despise the man who demands continued assurance of his own virtue, intelligence or delightfulness; we despise still more the crowd of people round every dictator, every millionaire, every celebrity, who gratify that demand.”

…and so Lewis wrestled with worship - both a God who demanded it, and worshippers who offered it.

Then the penny dropped.

"The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game — praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars…

...I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about...what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value."

And then he lands the point:

"I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.”

God does not command worship for Himself because of neediness...He's providing us with a means toward our own great joy in Him. He’s not an egomaniac demanding worship, He's commanding me to bring my pleasure in Him to its fullest delight! My pleasure in God is not complete unless it overflows in praise.

Why was it so hard for my parents to hold the secret of their soon-to-be grandchild, why do I want to show you photos of a PNG, why does one person tell another to watch the new HBO show they’ve just found, or to listen to a band they’ve just discovered, or to try the new restaurant they just ate at? Because it’s frustrating to have discovered something praiseworthy and not be able to tell everyone about it!

We worship God in song, because it blesses His heart, but also because it does our soul tremendous good…

Isn’t He wonderful...

Hasn’t he been so good...

Don’t you just love His compassion...

Aren’t you flawed by His grace...



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