By Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. — Psalm 73.25
The psalmist Asaph observes [earlier in Psalm 73]; “I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.”
Yet, the psalmist takes notice how the saints are happy in God, both when they are in this world, and also when they are taken to another. They are blessed in God in this world, in that he guides them by his counsel; and when he takes them out of the world, they are still happy, in that then he receives them to glory.
A saint prefers God before anything else that he possesses in the world. Whatever temporal enjoyments he has, he prefers God to them all. If he is rich, he chiefly sets his heart on his heavenly riches. He prefers God before any earthly friend, and the divine favor before any respect shown him by his fellow creatures. Although inadvertently these have room in his heart—too much room—he reserves the throne for God.
Inquire, therefore, how it is with you—whether you prefer God before all other things. (It may sometimes be a difficulty for persons to determine this to their satisfaction)
If you could avoid death, would you choose to live always in this world without God, rather than in his time to leave the world, in order to be with him? If you might live here in earthly prosperity to all eternity—but destitute of the presence of God and communion with him, having no spiritual intercourse between him and your souls, God and you being strangers to each other for ever—would you choose this rather than to leave the world, in order to dwell in heaven, as the children of God: there to enjoy the glorious privileges of children, in a holy and perfect love to God, and enjoyment of him to all eternity?
He who sincerely prefers God to all other things in his heart, will do so it in his practice. Therefore there is no sign of sincerity so much insisted on in the Bible as this, that we deny ourselves, sell all, forsake the world, take up the cross, and follow Christ
*Abridged and language updated from Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “God The Best Portion Of The Christian.”