Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”–Ps. 37:4
There are some verses in the Bible that seem to be made for greeting cards and Christian college campuses. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of them. Psalm 37:4 is another. These oft-quoted verses are used as a band-aid to heal hurting hearts. We repeat them as assurance that the pain or uncertainty we are currently suffering from will not endure forever.
And like many things that are frequently repeated, over time, I fear that these verses may have been misconstured. Consider Psalm 37:4. What it states is:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
What people hear is:
If you like God enough, He will give you what you want.
However, just as with most things in life, we have to understand what comes first, in order to understand what comes second.
First – Delight yourself in the Lord.
What does this mean? It means that we find our pleasure in Him. Like a schoolgirl who marvels at every action that her young crush makes, we are finding our joys and our meaning in the words and actions of our Savior. We are thrilled to learn more about Him. Every chance we have to spend with Him, we take it. Apart from Him, our lives mean nothing. With Him, we have everything.
Second- He will give the desires of your heart.
Follow me here (because I’m hoping this translates in writing.)….If we’re finding our pleasure in the Lord, what then is the desire of our heart?
What is that we long for? What are we striving towards? What is that we want?
Our desire is for Him.
If we’re finding our pleasure in God, then what our hearts want is more of Him.
And He’s promised that this is what we’ll be given.
As our hearts are more in love with Him, He’ll give us more of that love. (See Romans 5:5)
As our minds are increasingly focused on Him, He’ll give us more of His wisdom (James 1:5-8).
Because in receiving more of Him, our hearts are truly delighted.
And we have everything we’ve ever wanted…. And needed.