I have a good friend who grew up hunting. He loves the challenge of it, but more than anything, he loves being outdoors, in the quiet, away from the helter-skelter of daily life. So when his son was old enough, he began to take him hunting, coaching him along the way. The son, now a young man, loves hunting, the skill of it as well as the scenic beauty. In many ways, the son picked up his delight in hunting as it rubbed off onto him from his father.
I believe this is just how we grow in the things of Christ. The New Testament says over and over again that the trajectory of our lives, once we have decided to follow Jesus, is headed in one direction only: we are to become like him. And one of the main ways that happens is by this transfer of delight. We are to get close enough to the Father through Jesus so that what he loves, we begin to love. What he delights in, we begin to delight in.
God becomes the emotional template for our hearts, what we pattern ourselves after, much like the son did with his father in hunting. We begin to feel what God feels, long for what he longs for, love what he loves. That’s how we become more like his Son.
So, what does the Father delight in? I ran across this verse last week that answered the question in a point-blank way. “But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth,”…and then the kicker…”for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. (Jer. 9:24)
There it is. Kindness. Justice. Righteouness. It’s a really good place to start. This is what God loves. So I need to get close enough to him each morning to feel this, to love what he loves. It’s how I have felt such deep change in me recently as I think about loving others each day, engaging them, and delighting in God’s image inside of them.
But my mind projects further out. What if the human race as a whole delighted in just these three things? What would happen to our world? What evils would be eradicated, what relationships restored, what beauty unveiled?
And then I get it. That’s heaven.