How can God possibly delight in us? It is quite a stretch just to believe that He can love and forgive us. But that He actually delights in us and rejoices over us, has passionate affections for us, is totally devoted to us—this really goes against the grain!
First, let us identity the enemy’s work: he and his kingdom have been continuously at work on you since you were born making it seem that God is angry with you, or that He pulls away from you, or that He is losing patience with you—whenever you do, say or think something wrong. Now it is completely true that your sins cause a separation from God (Isaiah 59:2) and that the enemy will take full advantage of those separations to come in with accusations against you (Revelation 12:10). However, if you are a Christian, the feeling of this separation is entirely on your side: it is not at all true that the separation is on God’s side.
God was in Christ getting His own Great Heart right with you at the cross and ever since you repented, turned to Him and asked Him to save you from your sins, He has entirely separated you from your sins. On His side of the relationship God is always relating to you as if you have no sins at all, even when He is helping you recognize and deal with them! This is what it means to be once and for all time justified by faith (Romans 3:24). He no longer sees you as you see yourself by your past training and conditioning. His thoughts are radically different than yours, as this statement in the context of His “abundant” mercy makes clear.
Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon."For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord."For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:7-9
The truth is that we all have a spiritual sense cultivated in us by the enemy which he has been using to slander God with deep in our hearts. This body of lies makes us feel condemned and rejected by God, a disappointment to Him, displeasing and grievous. It makes the Father seems stern and distant, unaffectionate, even unhappy with us. All of this hugely empowers our deep feelings of insecurity and inferiority. Happily, the Truth is the very opposite of these spiritual feelings. Unhappily, many times we let those old thoughts and feelings rule over us anyway—in direct contradiction of the gospel. We may cherish our spiritual sense, but the truth is it is lying to us if it is making God seem in any way against us (Romans 8:31-39) or that He is anything other than the great-hearted, joy-filled Father of prodigals that Jesus reveals Him to be (Luke 15:11-32; John 14:8-11). This body of lies must be cast down!
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Now, let us really challenge the false claims of that sinister spiritual sense by bringing our hearts to believe the blazing truth of our heavenly Father’s delight in us.
Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; You shall seedisaster no more.In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: "Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:14-17
This passage is about us! God has taken the judgment of sin that was against us out of the way. He is in our midst—indeed, He is living inside of us! And yet it still feels that somehow this cannot be true for us. How can the Father rejoice over us who are so weak and sin prone? How can He take delight in us—even when we are at our worst?
1) God delights in you because He always sees you as you really are—His vision is perfect. He delights in what He sees about you. He sees your deep heart. He sees your true nature.
a) He always sees you as He created you to be in His image (Genesis 1:27; Jeremiah 1:5) before sin began defacing His work.
b) He always sees you as you will be in heaven—fully restored to His image (1 John 3:2).
c) He always sees you as the new creation that you already are in Christ—even when your new life is being submerged under the old and invisible to you (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
2) God delights in you because you have said YES to Jesus.
a) He never forgets that the stakes are high and that you are ALLOWING Him to save you from the hell He never wanted for you (by saying yes to His offer of salvation) and that you are WANTING eternal life with Him (1 Timothy 2:3).
b) He never forgets what His Son had to suffer for everyone that lives and He is delighted that you are not letting that suffering be wasted—you are WANTING the blood applied to your life. This gains an inheritance for His Beloved Son (Ephesians 1:18).
3) God delights in you because HE IS LOVE (1 John 4:8). Joy, love and mercy flow in endless superabundance out of His Great heart towards all that He has created. Just as surely as the sun always blazes, our Father has a fiery passion to love you. It is who He is. It is what He delights in doing. It comes easy to Him. And now that the cross has cleared the way for Him to fully release it to you, He is able to satisfy His heart by taking delight in loving you.
4) God delights in you because the Blood truly has cancelled out your sins (Romans 3:24). In our own eyes our sins are enormous and indeed the weight of even one sin would crush life out of us in His holy presence. But compared to what the blood does to sin, our sins are as nothing more than a drop of ink in the ocean of love and mercy that flows from the cross. Get this: 5 billion persons living (plus all the billions dead and yet to come) have their sins potentially covered and cleansed by the Blood. It is finished. Atonement has been fully made!
5) God delights in you because He delights in the work He has assigned Himself to do—be your Savior (Isaiah 45:21; 60:16). He doesn’t get tired of His “job”—on the contrary, He loves saving you with all that that requires of seemingly endless conversations about mercy, trust and love, endless prayer requests, and endless need for encouragement and correction. It would wear us out—but for Him it is delightful! Haven’t you noticed that there is always someone who enjoys a job you despise? For God saving you is a good day’s work. Besides He never loses sight of where the work is going and of the real progress that He has been making.
It is most emphatically not about you, about how unlovely you may be in your eyes. It is about how loving He is and how desirable you look to Him in His eyes. So, if you think His love for you is blind to your faults, don’t try to talk Him over to your point of view—put on some gospel glasses and start seeing things His way! He is determined to have the last Word, a forever Word, a Word of endless Love and Delight. My advice? Try to get used to it…