God created all things for his honor, glory, and pleasure. He sustains all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). Creation exists because he created it and he holds it together (Colossians 1:16-17). The system is only as in which we live. To those who are born-again, through faith in the crucified and risen Christ, this news is truly delightful. But, this news is not enjoyed by those who reject the gospel (Romans 1:18-32; Psalm 2).
In this particular article I would like to focus on the area of Christian delight in the triune God. Psalm one speaks of the man who delights in the Lord’s instruction rather than wickedness (1:1-2). The conclusion to be drawn is that the man who thinks and lives in such a way is happy (or blessed). Furthermore, the man’s delight in the Lord’s instruction involves him thinking about it continually. God’s Word brings delight (Psalm 119:16, 24).
David speaks of delighting to do God’s will (Psalm 40:8). The New Testament applies this passage to the Messiah (Hebrews 10:5-9). God’s people find delight in different things than those who do not belong to him. As a believer delights in doing God’s will joy results. Here, happiness is said to result from putting trust in the Lord (Psalm 40:4). One well-known passage in Scripture discusses trusting in the Lord rather than in one’s own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
It is very telling that as servants of the triune God and discuss things in which they delight, happiness (or blessedness) is discussed in the same breath. Scripture is known to command believers to rejoice (Philippians 4:4). We know that believers are able to choose to be joyful. We can choose to rejoice in the Lord – who he is, what he has done, and what he will do in the future. But, what if happiness is possible in the midst of deep pain and loss? Maybe we simply need to reevaluate our understanding of what truly is happiness. In returning to Psalm one and Psalm 40, take a look at the context of happiness. Happiness results from refusing to follow in the path of wickedness, but rather to delight in the Lord’s instruction (1:1-2). In the midst of great suffering and loss, a believer may choose for guests on the reality of his prior choice to reject wickedness and to delight in God’s Word. Such a man delights in the things of God. Happiness results from what that believer delights in and not from his external circumstances. He delights in God’s Word rather than evil and as a result he is happy. Where does his happiness flow from in the midst of all circumstances? It flows from God. Look at verse six, if you belong to the Lord God your outlook on life is different from an unbeliever or at least should be1.
Psalm 40 speaks in a similar way. David delights to do God’s will (8). God’s instruction lives within his being. He has read it, memorized it, and delights to obey it. David could personally speak of the happiness a man experiences when he puts his trust in the Lord, rather than turning to sin (4). Again, what we discovered is that the man who turns from sin and delights in the things of God (his instruction and obedience to him) is happy. His happiness flows from God. It is entirely separate from one’s circumstances. Will we always smile and laugh? No. But, that is not the happiness being spoken of here. The happiness spoken of is drawn from a deep well supplied by God, as a result of the choice to turn from sin and to delight in the things of God.
Why don’t we experience this happiness in God more often? There are a couple of scenarios which would explain this reality. Some who profess to know Christ, do not. They are not genuinely born again. No repentance of sin and accompanying faith in the gospel means no new birth. No new birth means no delight in the things of God and its accompanying happiness. When you do not have a new nature your desires will not change. On the other hand, as genuine believers we forget who we are (children of the King) and we forget who he is (our Redeemer, Lord, Heavenly Father, and the desire of our souls). We forget what we have rejected (sin) and we forget what we delight in now (the things of God). When we focus on our present circumstances rather than delighting in the things of God, which bring us genuine happiness, we live as those who have never experienced genuine happiness in God. Genuine happiness flows from God through his Son Jesus Christ. Forgiveness of sin, righteousness credited to our account, reconciliation to God, adoption as sons, and an internal inheritance in heaven come through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone. If you have not turned from your sin and placed your trust in the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus Christ you have experienced none of these things. Furthermore, you have never experienced happiness in God. It only flows from God to man through the Lord Jesus Christ. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself – a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
1“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin” (Psalm 1:6 HCSB).