God was pleased with His work of creation, stating that all the things He had created were good, or in the case of humans “very good” (Gen 1:4-31). We are created for His pleasure – to be holy and blameless in His sight (Eph 1:4; Rev 4:11). This often requires His correction and discipline, which at the time is not enjoyable but afterwards brings a blessing, like pruning that is done with the long-term view of increased productivity (Jn 15:2,8; Heb 12:5-11).
We can receive pleasure from nature and the simple things in life, besides from our work; also from when we do good to others, and from having wholesome interaction with people and especially with God, the source of all life. Jesus came to give us life, and have it to the full, “richly providing us with everything for our enjoyment”, within the boundaries He has established (Rom 10:10; 1 Tim 6:17). In this fallen world where God's best for us is often perverted, what society considers a pleasurable activity does not necessarily mean it is acceptable in God's sight, healthy for us or provide long-term enjoyment (1 Cor 6:12-17; Gal 5:19-21; Col 3:5-10).
What is the focus of my pleasure – self or God?
instructs us to "Give to the Lord the glory due to His name...Delight yourself in the Lord" (1 Chr 16:29; Ps 37:4). God is not opposed to us experiencing pleasure but is when it replaces His rightful place in our lives. This is expressed as, “In the last day’s people will be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God”, by being only concerned with their own selfish interests (2 Tim 3:1-4; Tit 3:3).
Moses refused the short-term pleasures of Egypt because he looked ahead, seeing the outcome and rewards waiting for him by living obedient to God’s way (Heb 11:24-26). Sometimes we too must choose to forgo the pleasures of the moment to invest in God's Kingdom. Be assured we won't be disappointed for He declares those that seek Him and His righteousness, giving up legitimate earthly things for His Kingdom, God has eternal treasures in store (Ps 16:11; Mt 6:33, 19:29).
God is more delighted when right attitudes lead to positive behaviour rather than in our repenting after sinning; similarly He receives no pleasure when a wicked person dies in their sin, rather He is pleased when they become His children (1 Sam 15:22; Ps 51:16,17; Ezek 18:23, 33:11; Lk 15:7).
Being happy in our emotions depends on external circumstances while joy which is an inner quality, a fruit of the Spirit is based on a relationship with God and is less affected by the outer world when a person is right with God (Hab 3:17,18; Gal 5:22,23).