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Delight Shines Brighter

Coming to the end of another year brings near automatic reflection (for me anyway).  At the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, God dropped in a word in my heart for this year: delight.

The idea is that I had lost a sense of delight in my relationship with God as well as feeling His delight toward me. I recognized that this was a choice to make. I could set my heart on His delight and by faith experience it.

Well, here I am at the end of 2017 and I can say with absolute 100% certainty that I had good days and bad days with this. There were certainly amazing high points where I experienced delight, but there was stretches of time where I fell facedown in the mud and wallowed there a while.

This past weekend I ministered in Rolla, MO. Their service is Saturday night so I drove nearly six hours to lead worship and preach (we had a wonderful service), I stayed the night and got up to drive home the next morning. Twelve hours in a car by myself was lots of time to pray and reflect.

On the way, I felt a tremendous condemnation I couldn’t shake. Trying to pray, I finally just said, “I may not feel God right now, but I know there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and I’m set free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life no matter what my emotions tell me right now.

That was a turning point. I still never felt this incredible presence of God or anything, but I did feel strengthened.

On the way home, praying again, I felt God shifting my perspective again to see that I tend to focus on behaviors (good or bad) instead of understanding and addressing the root.

Our behavior is in response to legitimate needs. A baby cries when he’s hungry and gets fed. You get older, you make yourself a sandwich when you’re hungry. Same need met differently but in a healthy way.

You can obviously choose wrong ways to fulfill real needs as well.

You feel disconnected from your spouse so you might commit adultery. You feel unfulfilled at work so you may eat two packages of Oreos every night for a year.

You have real needs and you’ll have to address them in some way. We develop patterns of behavior (again, good or bad) to meet those needs.

For me, too many times I focus/fixate on changed behavior.

It’s sort of like not wanting our kids to go crazy in a store because partly it’s embarrassing to us as parents. I get embarrassed when I fall short in some area and then feel like God is embarrassed or withdrawn as well.

The root of all behavior is a need. Allowing God to show you the need and learning how to meet it legitimately is His commitment to you and me. He’s not embarrassed or withdrawn. He truly and perfectly delights in you.

It may be easier to believe He delights in you when you’re making what you feel are better choices, but you have to choose to believe the truth–He always delights in you. That’s not condoning your bad behavior, but it’s a core understanding of His unchanging, unfailing love.

The more you choose delight, the more your patterns change to reflect healthy need fulfillment.

I may have been hit and miss with delight this year, but I am choosing to finish this year receiving His delight and rejoicing in His faithfulness. I’m learning.

What are your thoughts? Do you ever overemphasize behavior in yourself or others? Or did you have a theme for this year and how did you do? 

2 Comments

  1. I loved your word for this year, Jason. Mine was “huge” and sure enough, some really HUGE things happened in our lives, and not all good things as they were happening, but oh, boy! God taught us so much through the trials we faced.
    Think I have a word for 2018, but will announce that later.
    Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  2. Perfect message and timing for me, Jason. I’m on that track. There’s honor to our Father in the striving. He knows. He calls. What a blessing.

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