What if God desires my delight in Him rather than my sense of duty to Him? What if we love Him more by finding pleasure in Him than by proving ourselves to Him?
The thought seized me and trapped me. It locked me in an escape room and I’m still working my way out. This flash of an idea: My life has been a journey from duty towards delight. From law to grace. I’m growing up and out of a heart motivated by fear, into a heart compelled by Love.
Perhaps this is every child of God’s journey.
But the theme of the journey that keeps ringing in my ear is delight.
Problem is, I’m not good at delighting.
My delight receptors are naturally filmed over with a thick layer of duty and fear. There’s no time for pleasure when I’m consumed with a try-harder and be-better life of proving myself to God, others, and self.
But slowly, oh so slowly, I’m learning what it means to delight in God and how to actually, practically do it.
I’ve heard riffs on this passage more times than I can count from speakers, writers, preachers, and peers. Usually with an emphasis on the second part. It’s one of those passages that’s so overdone I hadn’t given it attention in quite a while. But as I ponder delight, I can’t avoid it any longer.
Delight, in Hebrew awnag, in this passage means to be soft or pliable.
What on earth? What does softness and pliability have to do with delight?
Maybe there’s something tucked away in this Psalm that I’ve been missing.
We are warned throughout Scripture that hardness of heart leads to hardness and rebellion toward God.
But still, what is it about the softening of our hearts that God desires?
I’ve never made any type of pottery, but I learned (thank you internet) that clay needs conditioning before it is ready to be molded. That in it’s raw state it would crack and break and melt into an oozing mess in the furnace. But if it is conditioned and softened, that lump of earth becomes pliable and easy to work with, ready to be formed and molded into the manifestation of the artist’s vision, able to withstand the furnace and maintain its shape.
So the softened heart.
A soft heart is impressionable, moldable, formable. The soft heart receives the Artist’s touch with pleasure, humbly accepting and desiring the push and pull of the Artist’s hands, the smoothing strokes of His plan. This plan is a mystery to the clay, but a grand vision in the mind of the Artist.
And as the Artist forms the vessel He forms its desire as well.
He forms cups waiting to be filled and overflowing with refreshing drink. Vases longing for the adornment of cascading blooms. Dishes spread wide to be filled with sumptuous morsels.
Only after we are formed according to the Artist’s plan do we truly know our desires and God given shape. Unless I receive His touch and His imprint, I don’t know my own heart, my own desires.
But of first necessity is the softening heart, the delighting heart.
So I’m pursuing delight, not duty. It’s not so much my word of the year as the trajectory of my life. I’m softening, not stiffening.
I’m receiving His touch through The Word and creation and circumstances. Push.
I’m allowing feelings to rise to the surface rather than locking them up in dungeon places – and spilling them out in His presence. Pull.
I’m embracing trials as well as blessings. I’m tearing down self-made fortress walls between myself and everybody else. Smooth.
I’m allowing myself to be effected by The Cause. To rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Become.
God takes pleasure in our unrestrained delight of Him – a heart soft in His hand.
He desires our love rather than our lawfulness. Our delight rather than duty.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
I’m beginning to realize that it’s delighting in God alone that will enable me to be what He desires and experience His love overflowing in my soul!
Maybe on the outside the results of this changing mindset will not be discernible. But The Discerner of Hearts, His is the opinion that matters. He sees the motivations and He is the Rewarder of those who walk with Him and produce fruit from His Spirit, not their own hands.
Hands. My hands make a mess of my heart. Only God’s can make it something beautiful.
I’ve wasted too much time trying to give Him worth-proving works with these dirty hands.
He’s reaching past my hands and taking my heart instead and whispering, “delight in Me, soften to my touch, enjoy My loving artistry in your life.”
Creator, Potter, Author,
I want to delight in You. And that is Your desire too.When I walk in duty, trying to be something on my own, shatter my hard heart with Your grace. And as I learn to delight, help me to soften and be transformed by the pleasant and refining touch of Your hand. Thank You for first delighting in me so that I may in turn delight in You.
Delight is a heart attitude I am pursuing while Aiming at Heaven. I invite you to walk alongside me by signing up to follow the blog (see bottom of page). And as always, I love to hear from you and am often encouraged by what you share, so leave a comment if you’d like!