Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Psalm 37:4 (KJV)
Desires of my heart? Ooh, me! I’ve got desires. He shall give me my heart’s desires? OOOOOH, yes, puh-lease! Where do I sign???
The average Christian today still encounters, on a daily basis, the same problem every unsaved individual has: selfishness. Yes. We. Are. Selfish. We still struggle with selfishness not because we are not truly saved, but because we are still very much alive, and still very much human. With being human comes having a human nature, and human nature is a selfish nature.
We are concerned with how much a job will pay us. We are concerned with how much free time it will give us. We weigh the benefits one job has to offer us more than what another can offer. We weigh how it will benefit us. We consider how makeup will benefit how we look. We consider if a person, or a relationship, will be good for us, and our emotional well-being.
On a broader scale, then. We are concerned with hungry orphans, poverty, education, etc. That’s unselfishness, right?
Basically, we are concerned for the human race. And aren’t we all part of the human race?
We are saying then, basically, that we are concerned for us.
Us, we, our. I, me, mine. We are selfish, and becoming Christians does not magically erase that selfishness from our nature. What becoming a Christian does, however, is make us acutely aware of, make us awake to, our sin and our selfishness. While we would, in the past, accept doing certain things as normal, now we understand the difference, seeing from God’s perspective of sin.
Psalm 37:4 is a beautiful promise. Imagine, God promises to give the desires–plural!–of our hearts! In fact, the whole chapter of Psalm 37 is overflowing with promises. Promises for us. Isn’t that something! It’s like God is indulging our wanting for things.
Now hold on. Doesn’t that just feed our selfishness, because it’s giving us absolutely everything we want?
Notice this: while that verse is a promise, it is a promise with condition. And it is a condition that the average Christian so easily overlooks. It is the condition that one breezes through while reading the verse, to get to chewing on the juicier bit of the verse. It is the condition that one quickly scans over, to get to meditating on the second part of the verse. It is the condition that, while overlooked, is so much more important than the actual promise.
Delight thyself in the Lord. God could have made that a command, and no promise or incentive need be attached to it. Delight thyself in the Lord. But because God is a loving and good God, and because He probably wanted to make the invitation sweet and compelling to us, He chose to promise to give us something in return. Delight thyself in the Lord, and. Because He knew that human nature rebels against commands, He chose to make an offer, instead of a command: “do it and here’s the benefit; do it not, no benefit.” Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall. Because He wanted us to make the decision by our own will and not by force, He gave a promise with condition: Do this, and I will do this for you.
“Delight yourself in Me, and I will give you the desires of your heart.”
But what does “delight thyself in the Lord” mean?
Picture this: you are playing with a baby, and he is fully captivated by you. He cannot help laughing at all your antics. He laughs, chuckles, giggles; and his thoughts are all about what is right in front of him: You. You are all he sees, and you–and everything that you are doing–is everything that he can think of, fathom, or process at that very instant. He can think of nothing else, no one else, and not even himself, because he is engrossed by you.
Captivated. Engrossed. Engaged. Lost. Delighted. To be delighted in the Lord is to be lost in Him, and to be so lost in Him that you cannot fathom anything else apart from Him. To be captivated fully by the Lord is to not even care about other things, such as worrying about getting married, having kids, getting a better job, etc. To be engrossed with the Lord means having no room or time for any other cares. To be engaged fully by the Lord means that you even forget about, gasp, you.
It is possible to be in that state of delighting in the Lord. But it is, as with other things, a constant and moment-by-moment choice. You choose what captivates you, your mind, and your heart. And it doesn’t mean that you abandon your chores, or your job, or your husband, or your family, either. Delighting yourself in the Lord, having Him in your full view, puts life into clearer perspective. Delighting in Him sets your priorities straight.
Delight yourself in the Lord. That’s the more important part of the verse. Delight yourself in the Lord. That’s all you have to worry about doing. Delight yourself in the Lord. See where it leads you next.