July 25, 2013

Delight in the Lord

Being delighted with another person usually requires knowing them well. There are no surprises because I know what to expect. I’ve also noticed that even their idiosyncrasies become part of that delight.

Some might debate that God has quirks, but only those who don’t know Him well. Those who do find He is holy, consistent, faithful, loyal, kind, and a dictionary full of superlatives. It is in knowing Him that delight finds room to grow and come forth.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Stephen Charnock, one of my favorite authors, says that this delight springs from “a holy and frequent familiarity with God” because we swiftly go to a God that we know, whose goodness we have tasted. The more I meet God in prayer, the more delight I experience in Him.

Charnock also says we delight in God when we have hope in receiving what we ask of Him. As I know God and experience answers to my prayers, I’m convinced He is listening. Instead of being frozen by doubt, I am delighted in Him and His promises to take care of all my needs. I also see Him blessing those for whom I pray, and that builds confidence and delight in His grace.

Some spiritual lives are motivated by “rules” and fear that they will fall short (which everyone does), but grace is about unconditional love. Jesus died for me while I was yet a sinner (Romans 5:8) and I have His promises of security. He will never deny or leave unfinished all that He said He would do. With Him there is no “perhaps” but a solid assurance of eternal well-being. As He works in my life, I am delighted at what Charnock adds to that. He says, “We go to a God who desires our presence more than we desire His assistance.”

Charnock also says that delight in the Lord comes out of recognizing His prior mercies. As I mentioned, answered prayer produces deeper faith and great joy. So do His unexpected blessings. Over the past few weeks, He has taken care of my sister and her family during a horrendous ordeal, bringing their lives back to normal by blessing them beyond our imaginations. This show of His love drives us back to Him again and again.
Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:2–9)
In Christ, I have found refuge. He forgives my sins, supplies my needs, lifts my soul, checks my temptations, and answers my doubts and prayers. Because of His grace, I can delight in Him.


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