‘Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer’s soul and they promote sanctification.’
This fascinating quote was recently sent to me by a friend from South Africa. It was initially expressed by John Flavel (1627 – 1691).
I first came across John Flavel decades ago when I read The Mystery of Providence. I found it such an edifying book, demonstrating God’s power over every circumstance. It stimulated my faith and helped settle me in my increasing confidence in a sovereign God full of tenderness, mercy and extraordinary attention to detail. Later, I bought the six-volume set of Banner of Truth, Works of John Flavel, which was full of Biblical truth and pastoral wisdom.
I was fascinated, therefore, to read of his emphasis on ‘ecstasy and delight’ and his argument that ‘they promote sanctification’.
Undoubtedly many would regard ‘ecstasy and delight’ as frivolous when considering the important matter of one’s sanctification. But John Flavel, like other insightful people such as Jonathan Edwards and the romantic poet John Donne, understood that if we do not find our deepest joys in God we look elsewhere and frustrate God’s great purpose to flood our inner being with His love.