We often place the most significance on the relationships we most delight in. We can see this in the way that friendships are often based on a level of enjoyment, as we choose to spend time with those we cherish.
In the same way, we were created to enjoy God and desire to spend time with him. John Piper put it this way: “God created you not mainly to do things for him, but to delight in him. The more we enjoy God, the more he is honored, and our very purpose in life is fulfilled.” The Lord is most magnified when he becomes our true delight. Scripture bears this out as well.
Biblical Examples of Delighting in God
Christ teaches his followers to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). This speaks to the responsibility of every believer: a duty to love the Lord with every fiber of our being.
Rich in adoration, Psalm 27:4 spills out the desire of David’s heart: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.”
David’s deepest desire is to commune with God intimately, which should be true for all followers of Christ. This is the very intent of God — just as he delights in us, we were created to delight in Him. But this kind of delight is not immediate.
Delighting in God is often a process that begins with vulnerable prayer. In the same way that we grow to love our friends more deeply as we spend more time with them, our intimacy with and love for the Lord grows deeper as we spend more time praying to him and meditating on his Word. We will taste and see the goodness of the Lord as we come to know him more intimately (Psalm 34:8).
However, as great as delighting in God is, it was never meant to stop with us.
Sharing Your Delight in God
In the book of Jonah, God tasks Jonah with the responsibility of telling the people of Nineveh to repent and turn to Yahweh, the God of Israel (Jonah 1:1–2). God wants to save the Ninevites by inviting them into his rich and sweet forgiveness, the forgiveness he so graciously offers to every sinner.
God’s heart is not limited to the people of Israel. It crosses borders. He desires for all people to repent of their sin and enjoy a relationship with him (Haggai 2:7).
In contrast, Jonah’s heart has a different posture. The moment God asks him to go to Nineveh, he runs the other way. After much haste, a mighty tempest at sea, and being stuck in the belly of a whale for three days, God again sends Jonah.
When Jonah reached Nineveh, he shared what God had instructed him. Yet, when God decided to relent of the disaster, Jonah was displeased and angry. He cried out,
O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
Jonah was perfectly fine with the Ninevites being the recipients of God’s wrath (Jonah 4:2). Is this the posture of our hearts? Are we content with people around us not knowing Jesus?
In contrast to Jonah, Jesus teaches us what it really looks like to love him. Three times Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” and three times Peter acknowledges his love for Jesus. Jesus then responds by saying, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15–17).
A natural response to loving Jesus is feeding his sheep. This begins with telling sheep about Jesus. Even those who have not yet put their trust in him—the lost sheep.
The Heart of God
In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus compares the heart of God to a shepherd: “And when he has found [the lost sheep], he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
A natural response to loving Jesus is feeding his sheep. This begins with telling sheep about Jesus.
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
God clearly longs for lost souls. The question is, “Do we long for lost souls to know Jesus? Do we rejoice when the sinner repents?”
The Fruit of Delight in God
Just as God delights in lost souls being saved, our delight in God should translate into wanting others to delight in him. And in order for others to enjoy him, we must tell them about God’s grace in Jesus Christ. Although the actions of Christians may stand out to nonbelievers, causing them to question why they are different, ultimately faith comes from hearing and believing the gospel (Romans 10:14–17).
Do we find ourselves bothered by the fact that there are so many who do not know the name of Jesus? If not, then we must ask ourselves, “Why?”
The reality of knowing and enjoying God should compel us to tell others about him. We want them to experience the same delight in God that we have found.