Enjoying God

God enjoys you.

This is the secret to enjoying God. This is what makes Him enjoyable. Similar to the verse saying, we love God because He first loved us.

Worship is a wonderfully raw and intimate place of enjoying God. Yet, without this foundational truth that God enjoys us, individually and corporately, we won’t experience enjoyment of Him.

I grew up a pastor’s kid. I like to say I was born in the church nursery (I wasn’t, but it’s nice metaphor). I came to know the Lord at a young age, and looking back on my life, I see Him all throughout. However, as much as I loved God and had passion for Him and ministry, I viewed Him as a disappointed piano teacher. I was always practicing, but no matter how much time I spent, I was never perfect. Even when playing my best, there were always a few mistakes.

I knew God loved me. The Bible told me so. I also knew that song well too, and there was a special verse my church used to sing:

Jesus loves me when I’m good

When I do the things I should

Jesus loves me when I’m bad

Though it makes Him very sad

He may not have been mad at me, but He was definitely sad or disappointed with me. My performance was something I had to keep on top of so that God would approve. So that He would be pleased. So He would be happy.

You can imagine my surprise and relief (perhaps a bit of shock too) when I found out that God wasn’t angry, upset, hurt, sad or disappointed with me. He actually liked me. I’ll get to the theological reasons in a second, but first, here’s my experience:

I was doing an internship at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. We did the night-watch for the 24/7 prayer room. Live worship around the clock. It was the best place to be sold out for Jesus. Worship all the time! Finally, people who were like me. Spoke my language. Well, sort of.

Most of my life, I stood out from others because of my musical talents and anointed worship leading. At IHOP, I didn’t stand out at all. In some ways, I didn’t feel like I even got a chance. I was in a place where I was just one of the crowd. Not special. Anything I could do everyone else could do too, and better.

They taught fasting. So I fasted. And then I was hungry. I was losing weight and if you know me, there’s not much to lose. I was feeling depressed. From not eating. From not being special. From not fitting “in”. From being up at night instead of day. I was frustrated with God and my leaders and myself for having immature “unholy” emotional reactions.

But, inasmuch as I didn’t like being in that place, that is exactly where I saw God’s smile over my life. It wasn’t an open eye vision, but it was in my minds eye. A big grin telling me that God didn’t love or like me because I was a worship leader with great talent and anointing. He loved and liked me because I was His child. He had created me and my performance wasn’t part of that equation.

Now, I know my experience isn’t enough to solve the mystery for you. So, here is the theology: Grace. God, in His goodness, became one of us to pay a debt He didn’t owe so that we would receive what we did not deserve: His life and righteousness. Jesus made you righteous (right with God). Since God dealt with all of the sin there ever was and will be in Jesus’ one-time offering, He is no longer mad or sad or disappointed with you or me. Jesus “performance” was good enough. Now we are in Christ and God enjoys us.

“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” (Ps. 149:4). This is what He has done. Meditate on it. Renew your mind to it. His salvation makes you beautiful.

When have you encountered God’s enjoyment? His kindness? His smile?

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About Stephen James Carter

I have loved God ever since I can remember. Leading others in worship has always been the natural overflow of my heart for Him. Training others to lead is one of my gifts.

8 responses to “Enjoying God”

  1. paul says :

    great word Stephen, thx for sharing your experience. Looking forward.

  2. Brad Stanton says :

    I love your post because it talks about the joy of the Lord. When have you encountered God’s enjoyment? Ans: I have encountered it many times, the first time i remember is when i was 5 yrs old, our Sunday school teacher told us to think about the Holy Spirit and his beauty as we took a walk thru a forest. I felt that beautiful, joyful, powerful feeling and got addicted to it. I still love it, it is the best feeling there is.

  3. Brad Stanton says :

    by the way, I live in Kansas, so I guess I’m not far from you. I am trying to start a rumor that Kansas is the original garden of Eden, but have not been successful at that yet. lol

  4. Kebs says :

    Nice! “And what a comfort is this, that, seeing God’s love rests on Christ, as well pleased in him, we may gather that he is as well pleased with us, if we be in Christ!” -Sibbes

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