Friday, January 20, 2012

Bringing delight to God?

Is it grandiose to think that frail mortals can bring delight and praise to God? After all, God is all together holy, self-existent, and full of perfect glory. Why would God need us? 

However, God who is--self-existing, perfect, and independent--would nevertheless create and enter into covenantal relationships with creatures in freedom and love!

Karl Barth makes the point that the God who is God without us has nevertheless determined to be God with us. 

This sense of God with us affords the privilege of bringing delight to the heart of God. In what way?

First, God’s delight is not in the strength of the horse,
          nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
          but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
          in those who hope in his steadfast love.
(Psalm 147:10-11)

A related passage cautions, 
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom 
   or the strong boast of their strength 
   or the rich boast of their riches, 
    but let the one who boasts boast about this: 
   that they have the understanding to know me, 
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, 
   justice and righteousness on earth, 
   for in these I delight,” 
            declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9: 23-24

How might we take our ordinary, every day lives and bring joy and delight to the creator of the ends of the earth? The Psalmist says when we stand in awe of, and put the full weight of our existence, not in ourselves but in God's steadfast, unfailing love. In an infinitesimal way, I also feel delight when my three children trust me, or come to me for advice, or look to me for help and protection.  

Jeremiah says we bring delight to God by refusing to boast about our accomplishments as if we got to where we are by ourselves. God takes delight when we graciously thank Him for all his gifts. Boast only about the fact that we know God as the epitome of kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth. 

Paul asks a provocative question:  What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? I Corinthians 4:7

Today and through the coming weekend shift the focus from yourself, your problems, your shiny toys, and center your thoughts on delight. Center your thoughts on pleasing God, saying thanks, finding a quiet place to pray, or acting courageously on behalf of someone who needs your help. Bringing delight is reciprocal; we also experience happiness and deep, inner joy. Why not try it?

To the reader: What are some other practical ways one might bring delight to God?