As I sat down to write this morning, our beagle Sparrow had other plans for me, such as letting her out, providing for her breakfast, and then scratching her back.
Having been well trained by Sparrow, I accommodated her on all three accounts. Moreover, I did it joyfully because she brings such unmitigated pleasure to me and to our family. Sparrow is completely loving and sweet-natured, she's a one-beagle greeting party when we arrive home, and snuggle, thy name is Sparrow! Oh yes, she's also a great singer (although some refer to her serenade as "howling"). Owning, or perhaps more accurately, being owned by Sparrow provides a mutuality of love and devotion that brings much joy to our family.
"The Lord taketh pleasure in His people" (Psalm 149:4).
"At Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm ).
Mutuality of loving pleasure between God and ourselves can be a hard concept to grasp intellectually, and even harder to assimilate into the living of our lives. Certainly, we understand to some degree the pleasing of our hearts by our Lord. It's not hard to imagine that an infinite Being can elicit rejoicing in the spiritual being of those whom He made. However, the possibility of our bringing joy to God involves a far greater challenge of understanding and application. Both our finite nature and our waywardness would seem to disqualify our hearts as worthy companions of the vast and perfect Heart of our Maker. What does He find in us so appealing that He "taketh pleasure" in our company and fellowship?
A long eternity won't fully provide answers for this matter of love. We do know, however, that we require the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, God's beloved Son, if relationship with God is to be established and enjoyed by both Him and ourselves. "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6). Our Savior made atonement for the sin that separates us from God. He then sent forth the Holy Spirit to indwell the innermost sanctum of our being, where spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father most deeply occurs. "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John ). Thus, we look to the Lord Jesus as the bond and enabling of all relationship with God. Indeed, the more we "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," the more mutuality of love between God and ourselves will flourish in affection, devotion, and commitment (II Peter ).
Sparrow is a gift to our family, as hopefully, we are to her. She loves us in her beagle way (which is a mighty fine way of love!), and we love her by providing a home, food, a yard, and frequent backscratches. The feeling is mutual, and most importantly, it speaks to the mutuality of our relationship with God through the Lord Jesus. He brings infinitely much to our hearts, and in our "fearfully and wonderfully made" nature as the dwellingplace of Christ, we bring much to His (Psalm 139:14). Indeed, it may be that our Lord's greatest gift of love to us involves the capacity He formed in us to love Him in holy response...
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
"We love Him because He first loved us."
(I John )