Saturday, November 8, 2008

Causing God delight...

I watched my girlfriend dancing at her daughter's wedding and can not even communicate the pure joy that was causing the Cheshire like grin on my face. She was having the time of her life and I was so thrilled for her.

Everything at the reception looked familiar as place cards, favors, programs, and centerpieces have been the topics of our conversations over the past several months. I've watched her running here and there and compiling information for weeks as she's helped her daughter with all the planning and preparation and now it had all come together and it was absolutely fantastic.

Being happy makes us, well, happy! And it's not often that we feel deliriously happy as we go through our days. We're not sad either, we're just normal, balanced, dealing with whatever we are at the moment.

But then there are those precious moments like this where you are filled with joy, or laughter; when you are just delighted.

Often Scripture mentions how God takes delight in us. Takes delight in us! We make him happy - we bring Him joy. How amazing that we can please the God of the universe!

And how do we delight him? Proverbs gives a us a couple ways.
The Lord detests people with crooked hearts,but he delights in those with integrity.(Proverbs 11:20)
The Lord detests lying lips,but he delights in those who tell the truth.(Proverbs 12:22)
The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,but he delights in the prayers of the upright.(Proverbs 15:8)
The Lord detests evil plans,but he delights in pure words.(Proverbs 15:26)

That's all pretty straightforward. Remember that we can never earn God's love for He already loves us fully and unconditionally and no matter what we do or don't do. He cannot love us anymore or any less than He already does.

But I think there is another way we cause God joy.
Why was I so happy for my girlfriend?
Why was I not as equally pleased by the happiness I saw on her sister's face, or her mother's? Simple; I had not walked with them the steps leading up to this point. I'd not seen their work, their struggle, or their effort.

Paul in Romans 7 writes so eloquently of the situation we all find ourselves in, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do...For I have the desire to do what is good but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing..."

Sound familiar?

While God takes delight in integrity and pure words and prayer and telling the truth, I suspect that God is also delighted when he sees our success in areas in which we struggle - whatever those areas may be. No doubt we are have not fully arrived at where we should be but even a small victory is still a victory.

Perhaps you long to be a better spouse, friend, parent, or more consistent in your relationship with God, or you struggle to overcome a temptation, an addiction or a besetting sin and you find that at the end of the day you've only taken perhaps a small step forward. Or perhaps you’ve made no progress at all but you are determined that tomorrow you will try again. We are his children and we who are parents understand how in your heart you are always pulling for your kids to be able to accomplish what they are trying to do and how you rejoice when they do.

If we have that ability as parents, and if I can feel that same way as a friend, let us be comforted and strengthened by the knowledge that He who is always with us knows our struggles and also rejoices in each step forward that we make.

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