Delighting in God

Gary Henry

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4,5).

AMONG THE MANY GOOD THINGS WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SAY ABOUT GOD, WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SAY THAT HE IS DELIGHTFUL TO US. He is the source of all that should stir us most deeply. “God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that he can, without anything other than himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is” (A. W. Tozer).

If we are instructed to delight ourselves in God, this means that we can choose to do so. It is within our power to determine the objects of our delight (Philippians 4:8), and we can, if we will, make the choice to delight in God. That our will is involved in our delight should tell us that “delight,” at least in regard to God, is something more than an emotional feeling. It is a settled conviction concerning the excellence of God. Sometimes this conviction will be accompanied by moods and feelings that are “delightful,” but sometimes it will not. In any event, we must determine that our minds will appreciate God for all that He is, and give Him the priority that He deserves in our thinking and doing. The ultimate test of whether we delight in God is not how we feel, but whether we ACKNOWLEDGE Him as He should be acknowledged.

That said, let us not hesitate to say also that desiring God in an emotional way is good. Our values should be such that our minds come to the subject of God with enjoyment and eagerness, rather than with reluctance. Surely when Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37), He intended that we love God with more than our intellect and our will. Did He not also mean that our hearts should thrill at the thought of God?

This love can only be possible when we grow in our appreciation of the goodness of God’s holy character. As long as our delight depends upon His conforming Himself to our wishes, that delight will be small. We must learn to love the truth about God.

“A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness” (Jonathan Edwards).