A radiant sunrise over a vast, untouched landscape, where rays of light illuminate the world below, capturing the sheer beauty and serenity that brings immense joy to God's heart.

What Makes God Happy

The question of what brings joy to our Creator has perplexed humanity across all faiths. Recent theological insights provide thoughtful answers into the divine delight.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: God takes pleasure in righteousness, justice, faithfulness and the flourishing of creation.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the biblical foundations and scholarly perspectives on what qualities, actions and aspects of creation elicit divine satisfaction and pleasure.

Righteousness and Justice

God’s Righteousness and Love of Righteous Deeds

God is perfectly righteous and just (Deuteronomy 32:4). His standards of righteousness are absolute and uncompromising. God loves righteousness and hates wickedness (Psalm 45:7). He delights in people who have integrity, who are honest, ethical, and fair (Proverbs 15:9).

Righteous behavior brings joy to God’s heart.

Some examples of righteous deeds that God smiles upon include: helping the poor and needy (Psalm 41:1), defending the rights of the oppressed (Psalm 103:6), acting with justice and integrity in business dealings (Proverbs 16:11), and making ethical and moral choices guided by God’s standards of righteousness (Isaiah 48:18).

When we align our thoughts and actions with God’s righteous laws, it brings a smile to His face.

The Importance of Justice and Ethical Behavior

God also deeply values justice and ethical behavior (Psalm 89:14). He wants to see equity, fairness, and rectitude upheld in human relationships and social systems. Injustice grieves God’s heart – whether it’s oppression of the weak, economic exploitation, judicial corruption, or interpersonal unkindness.

But when justice rolls down like waters, God rejoices (Amos 5:24).

Some ethical behaviors that delight God’s heart include: showing mercy and compassion to those in need (Micah 6:8), making righteous judgments without partiality or bribes (Leviticus 19:15), paying fair wages to employees (Jeremiah 22:13), and conducting business honestly without cheating or defrauding others (Leviticus 19:35-36).

As the perfectly righteous judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25), God smiles when He sees justice and ethical behavior practiced by His people.

Faithfulness and Obedience

Loyalty to God’s Covenant

Being faithful and obedient to God starts with loyalty to His covenant. As explained on GotQuestions.org, a covenant is a binding agreement between two parties, in this case between God and His people.

When we put our faith in Christ, we enter into a new covenant with God where He promises us eternal life if we remain faithful and obedient to Him.

Concretely, this covenant loyalty manifests itself in several ways:

  • Reading God’s Word daily and putting its teachings into practice
  • Praying regularly to maintain a close relationship with God
  • Participating actively in a faith community for mutual encouragement
  • Serving others and making disciples in obedience to Christ’s command

Living out these spiritual disciplines helps transform us progressively into Christ’s image. It enables us to resist temptation and stand firm in our commitment to God when trials come. Such steadfast devotion ultimately brings joy to our Father’s heart.

Adherence to Divine Commands

Faithfulness to God also requires adherence to His divine commands and precepts found in Scripture. As John 14:15 (NIV) states, “If you love me, keep my commands.”

Some key areas where God calls us to obedience include:

  • Resisting sin: We must turn away from sinful desires and activities that displease God (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
  • Forgiving others: We need to forgive others just as God has forgiven us (Matthew 6:14-15).
  • Using our gifts: God expects us to employ our unique talents and abilities for His kingdom purpose (Matthew 25:14-30).
  • Giving generously: We should give cheerfully, generously and in proportion to how God has blessed us (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

As we grow in obeying God’s Word, we demonstrate our love, honor and reverence for Him. We also come to understand more fully what pleases our Creator. Studies show that when people use their talents to serve God and others, they experience lasting contentment and joy.

So obedience leads to happiness – both for us and for the God we long to glorify.

The Flourishing of Creation

Delight in the Wonders of Nature

God takes great pleasure in the incredible diversity and beauty of the natural world He created (Genesis 1:31). From majestic mountains to microscopic organisms, nature is filled with awe-inspiring wonders that reveal God’s creativity and bring Him joy.

According to research from the Pew Research Center in 2022, over 90% of Americans say they feel a sense of wonder about the universe at least once a month. Getting outside and enjoying nature – whether that’s hiking through the woods, stargazing on a clear night, or simply planting a garden – can remind us of the goodness of God’s creation and be a worshipful act.

In particular, caring for the earth and protecting the environment is important to God. Efforts towards environmental sustainability help the planet flourish, which is pleasing to the Creator. As Psalm 24:1 (NIV) says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

So when we exercise good stewardship of the world’s resources and natural habitats, it brings joy to God’s heart.

Pleasure from Human Flourishing and Relationships

In addition to natural wonders, God delights in human flourishing, growth, and loving relationships between people. According to psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization and fulfilling one’s potential is the highest level of human happiness.

As 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 says, believers will be God’s “hope, joy, crown of rejoicing” when Christ returns. So human achievement and creativity, especially when it spreads the Gospel, brings happiness to God.

God also designed people for meaningful connections with others (Genesis 2:18). Research has found that close relationships and social connections are vital for well-being. Jesus said loving one another is second only to loving God (Matthew 22:37-39).

So deep bonds of family and friendship bring a smile to our Father’s face. Fostering community, practicing hospitality, caring for those in need and reconciling broken relationships are ways we can increase human flourishing and joy.


In conclusion, through righteousness, justice, faithfulness to divine covenant, adherence to holy commands, and the flourishing of all creation, we bring gladness to our Merciful Creator’s heart.

As people made in God’s image, when we reflect divine virtues we become an occasion for divine joy. Our creator is pleased when creation thrives, relationships are life-giving, and communities promote justice and righteousness.

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