How To Find Delight in God

by May 4, 2012

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

That’s a command for us to have a certain emotion, delight. But aren’t emotions involuntary and uncontrollable? How are we supposed to summon up an emotion that we don’t already feel? Sam Storms offers four ways to delight in the Lord:

  1. Intellectual fascination. We must make use of the mind to set ourselves to know him. I have in view intellectual enthrallment with God in which our understanding of him is expanded and intensified. Know him. Learn of him. Study him. Explore his ways. Investigate his will. Become a student of the personality and character of God and he will most surely captivate your mind.
  2. Aesthetic adoration. We are fundamentally, and by God’s design, aesthetic creatures. Being fashioned in the image of God means, at least in part, that we are instinctively drawn to beauty and repelled by ugliness. We have an innate capacity to recognize and rejoice in beauty (unless, of course, we pervert and diminish that capacity by hardening our souls in unrepentant sin). God is ultimate Beauty. To delight in him is to behold his beauty in all its vast array: the symmetry of his attributes, the intricacies of his handiwork, the splendor of his power, the majesty of his mercy, and the list could go, quite literally, infinitely. We must therefore labor to cultivate our aesthetic sensibility and refine our taste for the sweetness of his glory.
  3. Emotional exhilaration. Our affections are also designed to find their focus and fulfillment in God. He is worthy of our zeal, love, devotion, delight, fear, joy, passion, gratitude, and hope. Although we do not see him now, we “love him,” and “believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8). With the Spirit’s help we must learn to cultivate and re-direct all affections so that they are rooted in him and riveted on him.
  4. Volitional dedication. Delighting in the Lord also entails the engagement of our wills and the choices we make. We must do two things. First, we must choose to obey his commands, and second, we must choose to avoid all that he has prohibited. Obedience nourishes delight and joy. God’s commands are his prescription for happiness and spiritual health. We must therefore trust God when he says that sin will corrupt and destroy. We must trust God when he says obedience will bless and enrich. Disobedience dulls and anesthetizes our spirits to God’s presence and activity. It’s like injecting Novocain into our spiritual nerves. Disobedience diminishes our capacity to delight in him; it drains our spiritual energy; it lays waste to our ability to focus on God and trust him confidently. It unleashes in our spiritual system a toxin that will progressively cause our spiritual eyes to go blind and our spiritual ears to go deaf. To the extent that we insist on eating the appealing, but ultimately toxic, delicacies of this world, our spiritual taste buds will lose their sensitivity to enjoy the sweet savor of Jesus.