JOY BOOKLET 1: God’s Delight in Us
Updated: Apr 10, 2021
Prayer: Lord, this is a really difficult concept to believe, how can you possibly delight in me? Help me to gain a deep or deeper understanding, through this week’s journey, of how deep your love for me is and the joy you have in my existence. Give me a listening and willing heart as we tackle this subject.
Bible: Luke 15: 11-32:
The Parable of the Lost Son
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinnedagainst heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
New International Version (NIV) LUKE 15: 11-32
Ponder: This is a beautiful story, told by Jesus to bring home to his listeners how deeply the Father longs and desires for His children to turn back to him. Love and joy met the son, not condemnation. What in your life is stopping you from running to the Father/God/Jesus with all your struggles and sinful habits? He knows it all and is waiting for you to turn back to Him. He has already paid the price for you on the cross, not only for the sinful actions you have committed, but also all the shame and guilt you are trying to carry. This price is a once and for all price not to be repeated. Run to Him.
Action: Read the story above every day this week. As you do this talk (pray) to God as if He is sitting with you and express your struggles to Him. Ask Him for a deeper understanding of what He has already done for you and for Him to reveal to you how much He delights in you. As you go about each day imagine the Father throwing his arms around you and celebrating you.
Remember: We all have had less than perfect fathers, some have truly sinned against us. Remember God, the Father, is perfect in His love towards you in a way that your earthly father could never be. If you discover that you are still very resentful towards a parent, now may be the time to begin the obedient journey of forgiving them. (You may need someone to help you in this process). The start of this journey is simply talking to God about your struggle and asking Him to help you.
End of Day: Thank God for the good moments you have had today, it might only be simple things but joy is deeply linked with a focus on God and His goodness. Read the daily passage again, going to sleep with Scripture on your mind.
Journaling: Write down any glimpses you have had of God’s delight in you this week. (This may take a while to notice). This is often linked with gratitude and thankfulness.
copyrite: Sally Childress 2018