God is glad!

God is always filled with joy.

“Really?” you might ask.  “But what about the times when God was angry with the children of Israel for rejecting him?  And what about Jesus suffering on the cross?”

True, God hates sin.  And he weeps for us when we weep.  He is a God of feelings.

But, at the very core of his being, he is joyful.

In his wonderful little book Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, John Piper puts it this way: “The glory and grace of Jesus Christ is that he is, and always will be, indestructibly happy.”

In John 15:11, Jesus tells his disciples: “I have told you these things so that you may be filled with my joy.”

And the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:2 that “for the joy set before him (Jesus), he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus had a joyous, loving relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit and was looking forward to more joy having completed his assignment to bring many more brothers and sisters into God’s kingdom.

Jesus talks about rejoicing in heaven over one sinner joining the family of God through faith.

The Father tells Jesus in Hebrews 1:8-9 that he has anointed him, “pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else”.

When God created the world and the universe, he was pleased with what he had done.  He loves what he has created.

And one of my favourite Bible passages is Zephaniah 3:17 where the prophet says that God takes “great delight” in his children and rejoices over us with singing.

So, why does this matter?

It matters because the character of God matters.  As Piper says, God is not gloomy.  He wants a loving relationship with his children.  He enjoys us and he wants us to enjoy him.

If I truly understand that God is happy in himself and happy that I am his child, my attitude will be very different than if I believe that he can’t stand me because of my weaknesses and failures.

That is no licence to continually sin.  To deal with sin, the apostle John points out in 1 John 1:8-9 that I must confess my sin and I will be restored immediately to the close relationship that I broke by turning away from the Lord.

Fundamentally, I must always remember that when God looks at me, he sees Jesus who took away my sins on the cross and rose again to remove the penalty I deserved.

If God is delighted with me, why should I go around with a long face?

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