We are the children of God. We are the sons of God and, therefore, God is our Father. And just like any father who smiles with joy when his children do what he likes, so there are certain things we do that cause our Father to rejoice. And the beautiful thing is that these are the very things that bring us joy, as well. These are the things in which our Father shall rejoice:
Living in righteousness – Prov 23:24 – “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice.” It brings our Father great joy to see us living in righteousness. Throughout the Bible, this is a common theme. He knows we are sinners by nature. And so, when we follow his law or when we yield to the righteousness of Jesus Christ within us, he greatly rejoices.
By nature, we believe that we find more joy in sin than in righteousness. However, as sons of God, we learn that the converse is true. Our greatest joy comes in living in righteousness rather than in sin. Prov 29:6, “the righteous doth sing and rejoice.” Ps 68:3, “let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.” Imagine that. The righteousness that brings our Father joy is the same righteousness in which we rejoice.
Walking in truth – 3 Jn 4 – John expresses the joy of our Father when he writes, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” When you see the verses in the Bible that tell of the great profit of truth, verses like Jn 8:32 and Jn 17:17, you can understand why our Father rejoices when we walk in the truth of his words. We are perfectly in line with God when we are walking in truth.
You probably won’t realize it at first, but you also will find joy in his truth. Jer 15:16, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” The words of God don’t bring the immediate thrill of sensual pleasure. And so we are prone to neglect them in favor of worldly amusements. But if you will invest the time and effort in reading and digesting his words, you are going to rejoice more over them than over any worldly desire you have ever pursued. Ps 119:103, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Loving wisdom – Prov 29:3 – “Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father.” God gives us wisdom to apply the truth of his words in our lives so that we can live by them. Wisdom is greater than anything in the universe, because it was here before the universe was created [Prov 8]. Our Father rejoices when we love wisdom because wisdom is “daily his delight, rejoicing always before him,” [Prov 8:30].
The beautiful thing about loving wisdom is that God gives you joy with the wisdom you attain. Ecc 2:26, “For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy.” Generally, men pursue the things that bring them joy. If you believe God, wisdom is greater than silver, gold, rubies and “all the things that may be desired,” [Prov 8:10-11]. He’s telling you that you will find more joy in wisdom than in any other worldly pursuit. The thing that brings him joy is the very thing that will give you joy. We both rejoice in wisdom.
Finishing with joy – Is 53:10-11 – it is hard to imagine that God was pleased and satisfied with the cross; that in the cross he could rejoice. We don’t understand God when it comes to something like this. However, we can trust that he told us the truth. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” God was pleased and satisfied. In this we see that God rejoices when we finish what he gave us to do.
Oddly, though it may be a cross, we find joy in finishing what he gave us to do, as well. According to Heb 12:2 Jesus found joy in the cross. According to Acts 20:24 Paul desired, “that I might finish my course with joy.” The end of earthly life for both of these men was a cruel death. And yet they both rejoiced at the finish.
This is a truth that the world will never understand and it seems foreign to us when we first contemplate it. However, if you will spend your life living in righteousness, walking in truth, and loving wisdom, I believe when you come to the finish, you will find a joy in your departure that exceeds your deepest understanding and wildest imagination. There is a superlative joy for you at the finish; but you must run well with patience to have it.
Sinners repenting – Lk 15:10 – perhaps you are not a child of God and you’re sitting here wondering if there is anything you can do in which our Father shall rejoice. There is. You can repent, turn to God, receive Jesus Christ and become a child of God right now. “I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Our Father will rejoice when you receive his Son and the gift of eternal life that he gives.
And like the other things we have discussed today, this is a joy in which we also rejoice. Paul said, “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy,” [1 Thes 2:19-20]. Seeing others saved gives us great joy.
Indeed, we won’t be the only ones to rejoice; you will, as well. Paul said, “we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement,” [Rom 5:11]. You will never know this joy until you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Conclusion: if you are not yet a child of God, why don’t you become one today and experience for the first time in your life the joy of the Lord. Like Habakkuk said, you will say, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation,” [Hab 3:18]. Won’t you trust him today?