Delight, God’s Original and Ultimate Goal
God’s goal, the primary agenda of the heavenly Father, has always been and remains – to this day – that we take delight in Him. This goal, or desire, toward us is birthed from His love for us.
God’s love is on full and magnificent display in the Creation account. In the creation account, the Father creates an environment perfectly suited to sustain life and then He creates the living beings perfectly fitted to flourish within His environment!
He then invites us to partner with Him and His work in the world. It’s an invitation to tend, cultivate (create culture), and care for His wonderful world.
Because God loves us and His love is directed toward what’s best for us! This others-oriented love of God is what I’ve come to call a Signature Affection of Creation.
There is also, however, a competing affection lurking in the shadows.
This affection, though secondary, is powerful.
This competing affection – we might even call it a forgery (in keeping with the signature affection metaphor) – looks a bit like love.
It mimics love.
It attempts to provide the promise and power of love.
It’s even alluring, like love.
Yet it’s not love. Not, at least, this others oriented love of the Father.
Competing Affections Take Us in Different Directions
This competing affection continues to compete for love and allegiance today. Unfortunately, as in the Garden, this competing affection also continues to win the day. Its victory has led to literally every problem we’ve experienced and every pain we’ve endured!
This competing affection is the result of distortion and deception. The Signature Affection is sacred gift of the Father.
The competing affection is saboteur, secretly reordering our loves by introducing disunion and disharmony. Love, once a gift of the father, is now fueled by the self-oriented distortions of the children.
The forgery affection isn’t original.
Rather, it’s the inversion of all that’s good.
To feel the burdensome blow of the betrayal, read the full account as captured in Genesis 3:1 – 13. Whatever you believe about the Judeo-Christian Creation account, it’s readily apparent that every single social and systemic evil we endure can be traced back to this place – or better – moment in time.
Indeed, one might well consider this the womb of all that’s wrong with the world:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” “But the serpent said, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Divorced, Distorted, Disastrous
Devotion to God, each other, and creation, initially tethered to God’s others-oriented love in Genesis 1 – 2, became divorced from its Source in Genesis 3.
As devotion is divorced from God’s love, desire experiences distortion that pulls us (like a magnetic force) away from Him. This pull causes us to hide from His presence. The delight we once enjoyed becomes a memory of yesteryear, rather than the normative experience of today.
The disruption that resulted from our deception introduced a canyon-esque divide within the relationships we once enjoyed: union with God, with each other, and with creation.
Rather than existing in union, we now exist in disunion.
We see the embryonic forms of self-preservation, blame-shift, and denial when the Father confronts Adam and Eve. Though embryonic in the Creation account, they are now full-grown adults. As such, they and infect literally every experience we have!
This plays out in the nooks and crannies of work, relationship, and rest/worship day-by day!
For example, devotion within the rhythms of the intimate and expanding (be fruitful and multiply) relationship that existed between Adam and Eve is confounded at nearly every level.
Divorce rates are staggering.
The sanctity of life and the sacrament of marriage are all but lost.
The presence of strife and conflict dominate the social narrative constantly playing in our culture!
Designed for More
Or, consider the place of devotion within the rhythms of work (cultivate) that existed between Adam and Eve and creation itself. Where work was once a joy, it has now become a chore.
Work is an original mandate of creation.
It was designed to bring dignity to the worker and delight to the recipient of the work.
In today’s economy, however, work has become a means to an ends which is entirely self-centered. In most of today’s work environs we experience strife and conflict.
Work-place joy is almost non-existent and employee satisfaction is at an all-time low.
Employers, conversely, mourn the fact that good labor is almost impossible to find.
Most crimes committed in the business world are committed by those who work within the business world.
Wages are remarkably low in many sectors of our society.
A sense of common good is no longer the automatic outcome of a hard-day’s work.
Redemption Reorders Our Loves
These realities stem not from a lack of devotion but from the original divorce of devotion from its Source.
Yet, we are – and always have been – creatures of delight. Therefore, we continue to long for the experience of delight we once found in God. We grasp for an experience of delight on a daily basis, often directing our energies toward other sources that end in distortion.
We do catch glimpses of rightly tethered devotion. These glimpses give us insight into our long-lost sacred ordering of life. They also provide a context in which the power of Christ’s presence can spring forth into our daily experience of life!
The abiding and internal presence of Christ provides the opportunity to restore this sacred delight. Next week, we will get caught up in the divine invitation to reenact, or practice, devotion.
By practicing the daily rhythm devotion, we will – over time and through intention – reorder our loves.
As we reorder our loves, our joy and delight will ultimately be found in the love of our Heavenly Father!
Disrupting to Renew!