Yesterday, I preached my first sermon of the New Year from Psalm 27. This Psalm highlights David’s one thing, his single ambition:
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after…to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord.” Psalm 27:4
There is not a greater ambition for 2017 than this ambition, that we might deepen our admiration of God and our affections for God by gazing upon the beauty of God. There are many ways to do this, but one of my favorites is to reread a particular classic Christian book. Apart from Holy Scripture no book has served me more effectively to do just this than Knowing God by J.I. Packer. It’s the only book I reread each year.
If you aren’t familiar with the book or haven’t read this book recently, allow me to create an appetite for this book by having Dr. Packer tell you why he wrote this book:
“The conviction behind the book is that ignorance of God-ignorance both of his ways and the practice of communion with him-lies at the root of much of the church’s weakness today…Our aim in studying the Godhead must to know God himself better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are. As he is the subject of our study, and our helper in it, so he must himself be the end of it. We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God…for knowing God is a relationship calculated to thrill a person’s heart.”
Does your knowledge of God and relationship with God thrill your heart? If not, perhaps it’s because you are not sufficiently familiar with the beauty of God or haven’t spent enough time gazing upon the beauty of God. Beholding the beauty of God deepens our admiration of God. Beholding the beauty of God awakens affections for God. Gazing at the beauty of God with the people of God was David’s sole ambition. This was David’s one thing. You and I can have no superior ambition to this ambition for 2017.
What is your one thing for 2017?