“…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)