"They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it." -Confucius
I find a lot of wisdom in this quote from Confucius. I think he may have understood a deeper concept of the purpose of man. Allow me to deconstruct his quote and fill in where it says "truth" with "God".
They who know God are not equal to those who love God, and they who love God are not equal to those who delight in him.
I have often pondered the idea that the ultimate plane to reach when it comes to a relationship with God is to delight in him. All over the scriptures are verses where God specifically precursors these amazing, beautiful promises with "if you delight yourself in me" or "if you delight in my commandments, in my ways". I believe this is the secret to life, happiness and faith..."To Delight".
To Know, to Love and to Delight are all parts to a trinity to bring us closer to God but can also be applied to every important aspect of our existence.
Let's start with the first stage: To Know.
It all starts in the head. In love and work and religion it always starts with knowledge. An idea that captures our mind's lust for meaning, passion and love.
Let's use the analogy of a love courtship. When two souls meet, their first natural course of actions is to learn; to discover, to know more and, if sufficiently intrigued, as much as they can about the other person. They read the other as if they were a book, studying the ins and outs of their mind, motivations and character.
And then there are those who know God.
The first stage of knowing is comparable to falling down a rabbit hole, the more you seek, the more you fall into the next stage: Love.
Love is funny thing. It makes us want to climb mountains, travel thousands of miles, and sacrifice a lot for the sake of pleasing the object of our affection. We find ourselves doing things we never would have, pushing ourselves to become better, dedicating our time, money, and changing whole aspects of our lives in the pursuit of our precious treasure.
Our mind has been captivated and now we can add to that our heart. We love because of what we know. We have seen the goodness and beauty in another and we have fallen in love with their warmth and light.
And then there are those who love God.
I have become convinced we've all been taught a big lie. The lie that love is all we need. I believe there is a higher purpose than just to love whether it be your spouse, your work, or God. The goal is not only to love, but to delight, to enjoy, to rejoice!
Love doesn't always equal delight, but delight always equals love. We may not realize that we are displaying a most authentic expression of love when we delight in something, whatever that may be, good or bad.
To delight is to take the love you have and make it effortless. It's to make love natural to your very being.
The proverb says "Delight in the wife of your youth."* Many would say yes, love her too, yes take care of her and provide, yes do all that other sacrificial stuff, but might I add don't forget to have fun! Love is about joy, and a relationship with God is very much about joy. I believe King David, the man who forever went down in history as a man after God's own heart knew this very secret. What set David apart from the rest is not that he believed in God, not that he knew all about God, not even that he loved God, but that David also delighted in God.
Check out some of these psalms he wrote:
"I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word." Psalm 119:16
"I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." Psalm 40:8
"Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it." Psalm 119:35
"For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering." Psalm 51:15
If all we're doing is sacrificing for God and showing him that we love him by our perseverance and struggle, we're still missing the point.
When we delight, we don't struggle. You see the difference is if one enjoys scaling down dangerous mountain cliffs they don't experience the sweat, fatigue, short breaths, and imminent fear of sudden death as a burden, they experience it as exhilaration.
God wants us to enjoy him and that comes from a different place than simply the knowledge of him, devotion to him and sacrifice for him. It comes from pure, natural, authentic joy and satisfaction in him. It's the difference between my yoke is heavy and my yoke is light.
We will always desire that our beloved would embrace us, kiss us and stay with us because they enjoy it not because they feel like they have to. That's the authentic joy we should strive for when it comes to God.
To know and love God is the purpose of our existence, but to know, love and also delight in God is the fulfillment of our purpose.
"Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
And then there are those who delight in God....