I am in the middle of The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford) by McClymond and McDermott. Chapter nine makes the point that God is a Communicator, and the thing that God is most intent on communicating is his happiness (pg 130-31).
Is there anything we want more than happiness? God has hard-wired us to pursue our happiness. But here is the rub. Before conversion we pursue it in things, human relationships, “success,” more money, etc. God has designed conversion to change all of that. At conversion God opens our eyes. We begin to see that relationship with God is our ultimate happiness, and that nothing else will ultimately satisfy. In fact, heaven is relationship with God. Wherever God is communicating his glory to a fortunate soul, that soul is participating in Heaven.
This communication from God about himself ruins us for this world. Afterwords, the world has little grip on us, for its power is the conviction that its allurements will ultimately satisfy. Here is how the authors sum up Edward’s theology. “Revelation is not simply the impartation of knowledge or even happiness. It is participation in divine being itself. [Wow!]This is why Edwards preferred to speak of God’s ‘communication’ of himself.”
This is a long way from the average Evangelical’s concept of New Birth and all that it entails. We try to fight the world’s allurements with naked willpower. But God wants us to overcome it by the Holy Spirit’s illumination. What the Holy Spirit always illuminates is the Glory of God in the face of Christ, and the place where that “illumination” is most apt to take place is at the foot of the cross.
So why does this matter? Pursue Christ! Read the Bible as if your life depended upon it. Ask the Father to send his Holy Spirit to you. Meditate on the glory of Christ throughout the day. Your happiness depends upon it.