When I once wrote that God doesn’t love us because we are lovable, a couple readers responded that they know God loves them, but aren’t sure he likes them. I can relate. I used to feel that God more or less put up with me because he had obligated himself by saving me.
Here’s part of how one reader, Billie, replied:
If you [have children], do you delight in your children? Do you love their little quirks and personality traits? I am, and I do. I know God is a much better parent that I can ever dream to be…would he delight in us (his adopted children) any less than we delight in our own? Or would he simply tolerate us for Christ’s sake? Zephaniah 3:17 says:
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Does that sound like it gives him pleasure to have you as one of His children? I think it does. =)
Excellent Billie! God loves all people – He so loved the world he sent his one and only Son – but he has a special love for his blood-bought children. He rejoices over us with gladness. He exults over us with loud singing. Nowhere does it say he rejoices or exults over the wicked with singing even though he loves them.
God rejoices over me with gladness – wow, that’s hard to fathom. God exults over me with loud singing – what does that sound like?
I can see smiling angels turning their heads saying there he goes again with the singing!
In Philippians 1:8 Paul says, “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” Jesus had given Paul HIS affection for the saints. Affection for someone means you like them, take pleasure in them. You don’t simply tolerate them in an alright-I-love-you-because-I-have-to way.
Here’s another passage that shows how God feels about his people:
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God…you shall be called My Delight Is in Her…for the LORD delights in you…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:3-5
God delights in his redeemed people as a glittering crown, a royal diadem. He rejoices over us as a bridegroom over his bride. Hardly sounds like he’s just putting up with us. God’s people are his “treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6), “the apple of his eye” (Deuteronomy 32:10).
Paul prayed that the Ephesians would “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” This is not mere head knowledge but a deep experience of Christ’s love.
If you’re a believer, Jesus loves you, has affection for you, delights in you, rejoices over you, and exults over you with loud singing. Yes, he likes you! Meditate on these things and ask him to make them real to you.