Once, while walking through a McDonald's restaurant, I saw eight 10-year-old girls celebrating a birthday. Each of their faces wore a smile. The warmth of sheer, unadulterated happiness permeated the gathering. It was as if a light had been turned on and I could see God's pleasure, his delight, in this scene. God felt happy that these girls were happy. Their delight, their joy, even their giddiness, gave God great pleasure.
Have you ever thought about that—that you can give God great pleasure by enjoying yourself?
The fact that we are children of God—and that Jesus urges us to become like children—speaks of a certain demeanor, a certain delight, a certain trust in God's goodness and favor toward us. Children love to play. The thought of children forced to work in a factory or to toil all day long in the hot sun appalls us—we've passed laws to prevent it. And while God's servants are not merely his children (he also calls us to sacrificial and mature service), we never become less than his children. And healthy children often engage in play.
Now contrast children with certain teenagers and adults who sometimes hold back from play for fear of being embarrassed or looking unstylish or "uncool." They sacrifice their own pleasure on the altar of pride.
Has your approach to life been an act of worship that makes God laugh and clap his hands with glee while he watches you? Or could your attitude make him shake his head and whisper, "I really wish so-and-so would lighten up. What kind of example is she setting for my kingdom?"