Part 3 of a 4-part series on Psalm 37
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Wow! Did you catch that?
…He will give me the desires of my heart.
This is absolutely fantastic news! This is a promise I want to hold onto.
If I’m honest, I think I instinctively read this verse backwards. Maybe you do too sometimes.
Give me the desires of my heart and I will delight in You, oh Lord.
Honestly, many days, this is exactly how I would like to read this verse.
Some days I approach life so self-focused, always asking for more, that I am barely content with what is. No sooner is one long-prayed-for prayer answered than this forgetful sojourner raises her next plaintive request heavenward. My memory is short and my list of wants is long.
Oh Lord, would you please heal…Oh Lord, would you please provide…Oh Lord, would you please stop this bad habit…Oh Lord, would you please end the sorrow.
They are good prayers. At least they seem that way on the surface. Yet, so often the things on my most wanted list stem more from my own fears than from a desire to grow in Godliness. And I realize that even sweet prayers for my loved ones can stem more from a yearning for their health and happiness than for their spiritual strength and their willingness to extend love and grace to those around them.
God knows that the things on my most wanted list don’t always match up with His most wanted list. They aren’t necessarily the things that flow out of delighting in the Lord. Left to my own devices, my desires can run amuck, as I chase after every whim and fancy that I think will bring me happiness. God wasn’t being unnecessarily cruel when He observed that the human heart is so evil and desperately wicked, that it was beyond knowing. Rather, He was warning us not to trust the whims and desires of our heart. Their true motives can’t be fully known.
Delighting in God must always precede the fulfilling of my desires. The more I delight in Him, the more my unhealthy desires will fade away. It’s not that He tells me to lay them down, they just begin to lose their weightiness the more my desire is for the Lord and about pleasing Him.
It is only when I am delighting in the Lord that I stand a chance of my desires being the right ones, because they will be His desires for me too.