“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” –Psalm 37:4
It’s a selfish world we live in. Everyone wants their way. People have an agenda even when they seem to be reaching out in kindness.
This is not the world God designed. It is a world scarred by sin for thousands of years.
The good news is that God wants to give us the desires of our heart. He even gives us the formula for making that happen.
Delight in the Lord
Like any normal person, this verse in Psalm 37:4 intrigues me. After all, who doesn’t want their heart’s desire fulfilled?
For an interesting pattern of living, check out Psalm 37: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8. Each verse is a declarative command. For those of you non-English majors, this means the subject of the sentence is implied, and the sentence begins instead with a verb, an action. Fret not, trust, delight, commit, rest, and cease are those words. I get a sense of peace just seeing them lined up right there.
Back to verse four and the command to “delight thyself” in the Lord. What does this mean? Isn’t delight something you experience when you’re having a great time?
My sons delight themselves in a new video game. For about three days (and then they’ve defeated it and are ready for the next great thing). How can I know this?
Every moment they play the game. If I want to call them for dinner, I can find them glued to the game. Surprise! They’re on their phone – talking to a friend about the game. Now it’s the internet and they’re looking up information on how to conquer a section of the game.
In short: they dedicate all their time to this thing in which they delight. No one has to tell them it’s time to play the game. Time to eat? Maybe not. Time for bed? That one they will need repeated a few dozen times.
No one has to tell us it’s time to read the Bible if we’re delighting in the Lord. Prayer time? When aren’t we praying? We understand how to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) when we delight in the Lord.
It wouldn’t be surprising to hear us talking to others about the Lord. If you checked our browsing history, you would find we’ve been reading blogs or Bible helps that focus on some aspect of Christian living.
Is it even possible to delight in the Lord to this extreme? It must be or God would not have suggested it so clearly in His Word.
Jesus gave his life for us, so why does it seem hard to imagine that he wants to satisfy our longings?
Well, when our longings are for riches, fame, expensive cars and other selfish desires, he won’t grant them. After all, his promise is to give us what we want when we delight in him.
If we are dedicating our thoughts and actions to pursing a deeper relationship with Christ, our hearts change. Suddenly, that Caribbean cruise isn’t as appealing as a missionary trip to Chile.
It was really difficult for me to type that last line. Taking that cruise is on my bucket list. A missionary trip anywhere? Not so much. Clearly, I am not delighting myself in the Lord to the extent I could be. Should be.
God gives. He gave us the breath of life in the beginning (Gen. 2:7). He didn’t withhold the life of His Son when He knew it was the only acceptable payment for our sins. He encourages us to ask Him for what we want (John 14:14).
What you Want
What we want in the deepest corner of our heart is often the problem. We don’t want something that brings glory to God; it brings comfort to us instead.
When we ask God for things and he doesn’t grant our request, it’s a sign of a heart problem. “Ye ask, and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:3).
The key to having your heart’s desire granted is having the correct desire in your heart. Some things we want would destroy our testimony. Some things might become an idol. Other things are unnecessary for our service to God’s kingdom, and we need to spend less time focusing on them and more time following Him.
When we desire our family’s salvation, God wants to give that to us. If we desire money to help a missionary whose presentation burdened our heart, the check’s in the mail.
Jesus promised that if we put Him first, all of our needs would be met (Matt. 6:33). Not that we would be satisfied with that, of course. We have wants. In this automated society, the list of new and better toys grows longer with each passing day.
What do you want? If it is something for personal enjoyment without benefiting the mission to reach the lost at any cost, it’s time to check your heart.
Up next: A Father to the Fatherless