‘I can’t understand,’ once said a bird to a fish, ‘how it is that you always live in the cold element; I could not live there. It must be a great self-denial to you not to fly up to the trees. See how I can mount aloft.’ ‘Ah,’ said the fish, ‘it is no self-denial to me to live here, it is my element; I never aspire to fly, for it would not suit me. If I were taken out of my element I should die unless I was restored to it very soon, and the sooner the better.’ So the believer feels that God is his native element. He does not escape from his God, or from his Master’s will and service; and if for a time he were taken out of it, the sooner he could get back to it the better. If he is thrown into bad company he is miserable and wretched until he gets out of it again. Does the dove deny itself when it does not eat carrion? No, verily the dove could not delight in blood, it would not feed thereon if it could. When a man sees a company of swine under the oak delighting themselves in their acorns, and grunting out their satisfaction, does he deny himself when he passes them by without sharing their feast? No, verily. he has better bread at home whereof he can eat, and swines’ meat is no dainty to him. So it is with the believer; his religion is a matter of delight, a matter of satisfaction; and that which he avoids and turns from is very little self-denial to him. His tastes are changed, his wishes are altered. He delights himself in his God, and joyously receives the desire of his heart.
For meditation: If you are a Christian, unbelievers should have problems trying to understand your lifestyle (1 Peter 4:3–4). If that isn’t the case, are you enjoying something you shouldn’t be, or not enjoying something you should be? Is your delight in the Lord’s word (Psalm 1:2), the Lord’s will (Psalm 40:8), the Lord’s day (Isaiah 58:13) and in the Lord himself (Isaiah 58:14)?