As we approach Father’s Day, I’ve been thinking of my dad, who passed 14 years ago. He was a good father— not that he was perfect, but I always knew he loved me. As I write this, I also know how many sons and daughters cannot make such a statement, and/or have been wounded by their fathers in some way.
In fact, it is His name “Father” that speaks of the intimate relationship God desires with His children and how He delights in us.
“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
Our Heavenly Father delights in us—but how do we delight in Him? So I spent the last few days on this question— “what does it mean to delight in God?” I mean, we hear it a lot— it sounds good on paper, but what’s that all about? Andrew Gray, a gifted Scottish preacher from the 15th century, who died at age 22, said this of the necessity and excellency of delighting in God: “It is the duty of every Christian, and everyone within the visible church, to delight and solace himself in God.”
It is the duty of every Christian. Scripture treats it not only as a duty but as a command: “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!” (Psalm 112:1). Also, the most well-known verse (I think) on that subject is Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Now, even though the basic theme of this Psalm deals with the age-old question, of why the ungodly seem to prosper while the godly painfully struggle through life, we can read this verse and benefit from its promise by following it. The next verse (5) gives us a clue as to how this works: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Verse 6 then shows us how in fact, God does act—
“He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.” He will be our support, our advocate, He will favor us.”
Okay, “that sounds great,” you may be saying… So as I delight in the Lord— He will give me the desires of my heart… But what does it really mean to delight in God? AND—how does that all get done? Can we say with confidence that we are delighting ourselves in God, like the Psalmist?
Just to be clear: the definition of delight: “Something that makes you happy; that gives you great pleasure or satisfaction.” So, delighting in God means finding great satisfaction in Him! Think about that. But if only we could more fully do that… what our lives would look like!
But, be of good cheer, because we can.
We can because it starts with Him. Remember, I began this post by stating how much God delights in us. So that is our starting point. Delighting in God starts with Him delighting in us!
1 John 4:19 is a very simple verse— but a staggering statement: “We love because he first loved us.” The cause of our affection, or delight is that He loved us first!
Our delight in God is merely a response to His delight in us!
God sets the tone then. Think, as fathers and mothers, we pour our affection on our children, they respond not only to us but eventually to others and their own kids. Also, think of the opposite. What love would our children have to respond to if as parents we did not give it?
“We love because He loved first.”
And know this— if you are a believer in Christ, our Heavenly Father loves you with the same intensity as His own Son. What? Really?
John 17:23—Jesus praying to the father: “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (emphasis mine).
Think of it this way—Jesus earned for us the delight of God.
His delight in us is a gift that Jesus shed His blood to give us. And because of this, as Jesus prayed, “the love with which you have loved me may be in them and I in them” (John 17:26).
So this Father’s Day, whether you’re a dad or not, as you consider your Heavenly Father, respond to His great delight in you by delighting in Him!
If you’re unsure of His love for, and His delight in you, I invite you to check out this 15-minute video clip on our website.
Happy Father’s Day!
Pastor Joe Garofalo