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What Is Delight?

Read: Ephesians 3:7-21

That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth. (vv. 17-18)

Sometime between 1490 and 1510, Hieronymus Bosch painted a three-panel work he titled “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” Scholars debate the meaning of this painting, with some believing it depicts humanity’s fall from innocence and others viewing it as a tribute to excessive living. Whenever I see this painting, I think about delight. Is delight giving in to indulgence? Or is delight something different?

In Ephesians 3, Paul is writing from prison to remind the Gentiles (and others who will read his letter) that the love of Jesus is far bigger than he imagined. God’s love is with him in prison. God loved him when he was persecuting the church and needed to change his life. The love of Christ embraces those who are far off, and it includes those who are on the margins. As Paul writes about the mystery of the expansive love of Jesus, he is teaching us about delight.

Delight—defined as “a high degree of gratification” or as “joy”—does not depend on our circumstances. Delight is embracing the mystery that God is drawing near to us. We may experience fleeting moments of joy or earthly delight that seem devoid of the presence of God, but true delight happens when we recognize the divine coming close. We delight as we discover that God’s love and welcome are far more than we could ever ask or imagine. —April Fiet

As you pray, give thanks for the ways you see God drawing near.

About the Author

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Delight and Our Spiritual Lives