Tip #1 in our series “Cultivating wellbeing in a church community”
Have you ever noticed this verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4) and wondered what this looks like? Delight means experiencing “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment, joy, rapture, something that gives great pleasure”.
The things we delight in seem to easily fill our minds and thoughts.
If I delight myself in the Lord, I fill my mind with thinking about the amazing things he has done for me. I think about them and remember with great joy and wonder, that he loves me, he let his only son Jesus die for me, that I am forgiven. The things we delight in seem to easily fill our minds and thoughts.
In a way, our delight in the Lord is a response to His delight in us. Do you know that you are a source of pure delight to God? Zephaniah 3:17 says, “he will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
If churches are filled with men and women who delight in God, there will be an inner joy which radiates, affecting everything about that church community. Using the language of enjoying God and finding delight in Jesus will help churches speak about God in deeply personal ways.
One way that I learnt to enjoy God was in how I read my bible. By slowing down and meditating carefully on what I was reading, I was able to notice and absorb the details of what God was like and what he has done. This type of meditation is not about emptying the mind, but rather focusing the mind on the words and imagery used. According to the Puritan pastor, James Ussher, one hour spent in this type of meditation ‘is more worth than a thousand sermons, and this is no debasing of the word, but an honour unto it.’
Meditating upon the word of God has the potential to inflame our love for God and drives our desire to read it more so that we come to know him even better. I first did this with Psalm 23. I read it slowly and then returned to it and read it daily for a month. I thought about this detail, “he restores my soul,” and asked myself, “what does a restored soul look like?” I discovered a way of reading God’s word that fed my soul in a way that I’d never experienced before. And I found it delighted me. And delighting in God’s word leads to delight in God.
Ways to cultivate this in a church context:
- During conversations ask, “What has encouraged you from God’s word recently? How are you enjoying God?”
- Ask others to share their salvation story to be mutually encouraged with reminders of God’s wonderful work in our lives.
- Read through one of the Gospels. What story of Jesus do you love the most and why? Encourage people to share this story.
- Remind yourself and others of how much God loves you. Memorise a verse like 1 John 3:1a.