By Justin Rossow
God delights in people. God created, redeemed, and continues to sustain them; and God loves it when these beloved people feel the same way about their Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. That mutual delight is the central theme of a book I am working on right now, and it is so much fun to write!
The title of the book is Delight! and that title describes the contents pretty well. Section 1: “The Architecture of Delight” looks at some of the biblical vocabulary related to emotional, intellectual, and playful experiences of delight in both Old and New Testaments. That language study helps define a scriptural framework of mutual delight between God and God’s people.
In Section 2: “God Delights in Us,” the book looks at some of the unique and powerful ways the Scriptures talk about God’s heart for these people God so dearly loves. You are God’s treasured possession; God delights over you with singing; Jesus is both faithful and head-over-heels in love with you (and with y’all).
In the last section of the book, we get to turn our attention to the other side of that mutual delight equation, as the Scriptures invite you personally to experience your relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, already now, in emotional, intellectual, and playful ways, all at the same time.
The subtitle of the books is Discipleship as the Adventure of Loving and Being Loved. But talking about your side of the equation does not mean we have stopped talking about God’s action. We have not suddenly changed topics to how you can hold up your end of the delight bargain. Quite the contrary! Just as God’s delight in us is grounded in God’s work for us, our delight in God is grounded in God’s work in us; it’s still God’s work!
And that is such good news! You don’t have to manufacture your own delight in God’s will or God’s Word or God’s ways. You don’t have to pull yourself up by your own spiritual bootstraps so you can experience more fulfillment as a follower of Jesus. You don’t carry the burden of fulfilling the expectations of being a Good Christian; you get to delight in what God is up to in your life as the Spirit shapes delight in you.
Discipleship is an adventure of delight.
For me at least, the word adventure is exciting. An adventure can take you places you didn’t expect for reasons that weren’t clear at the time. There may well be a sense of movement or progress on an adventure, but any destination you reach is just a next step in the journey; and even going backwards can propel the plot forward.
On an adventure, you never know what twists or turns are around the next corner, which characters will be introduced in the next chapter, or what new information will cause you to reevaluate everything you thought you knew so far.
An adventure can have a goal or a timeline, but any adventurer knows, you have to hold your plans loosely and see what happens on the road.
To be on an adventure is to be committed to a process you know you can’t control; but you know that process will also bring new knowledge, new discoveries, new risks and new rewards.
I firmly believe that your delight in following Jesus is tied directly to a spirit of adventure, a willingness to courageously embark without knowing the final destination and discover the meaning of the journey on the way.
Following Jesus is the most difficult thing you will ever do. And following Jesus is the most exciting, challenging, engaging, heart-breaking, frustrating, meaningful, scary, fun, delightful thing you will ever be a part of.
Finding delight in who God is and what God is up to in your life is an adventure. It can be dangerous as well as exhilarating. And it is not for the faint of heart.
But you also follow a Jesus who will not “break a bruised reed or snuff out a smoldering wick.” (Matthew 12 uses that tender description of the gentle Servant of the LORD in Isaiah 42 and applies it directly to Jesus.)
Even adventures get exhausted, lonely, lost, and confused. And Jesus is there for that part of the adventure, too.
So buckle up, hold on tight, and let the adventure begin!
Delight! Discipleship as the Adventure of Loving and Being Loved by Justin Rossow will be available from Next Step Press in 2020. You can receive email notification for all new releases from Next Step Press by signing up here.