Why should we care about how God feels about Himself?
The basis for our relationship with God is in God’s ultimate happiness and contentment in Himself. Before we even desire to seek God, we must first know that He is happy and good, righteous and holy, and is fully satisfied in Himself. Thinking about God being fully pleased in Himself makes me confident that I, too, can be fully pleased in Him. It’s a curious thing, but we need affirmation from God’s delight in Himself to know that we can delight in Him, too.
“If God were not infinitely devoted to the preservation, display, and enjoyment of His own glory, we could have no hope of finding happiness in Him.” – John Piper, Desiring God
God, being the only true anchor in our lives, gives our ship a strong and unmovable line by the truth of His love, holiness, and goodness. If God doesn’t find complete satisfaction in Himself then we have no true anchor to hold on to, for God would not be God! Thank God that God loves God.
“…He delivered me because He delighted in me.” Ps. 18:19
God loves unbelievers (John 3:16), yet He likes and enjoys believers (John 15:9). Jesus rejoices over us when we turn to Him in repentance (Lk. 15:4-7). His smile is seen as a believer embarks on the journey towards mature obedience and love. Our repentance elicits a compassionate response in Jesus’ heart (Lk. 15:18-22), even though we still have immature areas that need transformation.
Jesus demonstrates the Father’s heart
Everything you see Jesus do—every emotion or action— shows the Father’s character and demonstrates exactly how He feels. Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). A read through the book of John (or the other gospels) will give you immense insight into how the Father feels about believers. Many times it says that Jesus was moved with compassion.
How God feels about Jesus is our standard
“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.” John 15:9
“…so that the world may know that you…loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:23
God loves us in the same way that God loves God. Think about that. God feels the same way about Jesus as He does about you. So, when Jesus stands before the Father, and the Father looks at Jesus with extreme delight and enjoyment, we can be assured He looks at us the same way. Look in the Bible at how God feels towards Jesus, then meditate on the fact that He loves us in that same way.
I believe that God is mostly happy when relating to us, not mostly angry or sad (though these emotions are definitely displayed in the Bible). God’s primary disposition is gladness; His love is ever-real.
It can’t be said enough: we love Him only because He first loved us, and made a way for us to be His favorite ones.
“There is no light in the planet but that which proceeds from the sun; and there is no true love to Jesus in the heart but that which comes from the Lord Jesus himself. From this overflowing fountain of the infinite love of God, all our love to God must spring. This must ever be a great and certain truth, that we love him for no other reason than because he first loved us.” C. H. Spurgeon (emphasis added)
Lazarus has just died and his family and friends are devastated. We find Jesus responding differently to the grieving of Lazarus’ two sisters, Martha and Mary.
We know Martha and Mary from another popular scripture in John 10 where Mary chooses to sit at Jesus’ feet and anoint Him while Martha is busy preparing food. I think it’s a common misconception to perceive Mary as ‘good’ and Martha as ‘bad.’ But in John it says that Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus. I think this was a special friendship.
Martha and Jesus were friends. So it may seem odd that when Martha ran to Jesus and said about Lazarus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died,” Jesus simply stated that Lazarus would rise again. He also took the moment to tell Martha more about who He is as ’the resurrection and the life.’
Could it be that Jesus was showing Martha something she didn’t know about Him? He asked her “Do you believe this?” Was that to grow faith in Martha that He can raise Lazarus from the dead, or was it simply to tell her who He is?
Next, Mary ran to Jesus with the exact same words as Martha, but Jesus reacts completely different to Mary. It says that Mary fell as Jesus’ feet, weeping. When Jesus saw Mary and the Jews that came with her weeping, He was saddened, troubled, and even moved to weeping.
In this account, we get a vastly intimate look into the humanity and emotions of Jesus. His love for these siblings, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, clearly demonstrates His closeness with our humanity, and quells the thoughts that He is stoic or detached from us.
There are numerous times in the Gospels where it says that Jesus was moved with compassion. Love and compassion welled up inside of Him for humanity because we are “like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36).
Here are some verses to think about today that highlight the humanity and closeness of Jesus:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:14–15)
"Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (Matt. 9:35–36)