I don’t know where you are, but here in Texas it is HOT and humid! It would be easy to think only about the oppressive heat. Sitting here in southeast Texas near the gulf, it’s certainly something you think about every time you go outside. But yesterday as I naturally began to think of the oppressive heat (not in a praising manner), I stopped and thanked the Lord for the sunshine He knows we need, and for the air conditioning I am blessed to be able to walk into.
I was reminded of Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” What I immediately began to think in that moment was how blessed we are to have such an amazing Lord who provides for things we aren’t even aware we need. He created this earth from nothing, and created all the intricacies into how and why the world works. I sat (by then back in the a/c) and marveled at His works.
The word delight means “to gain great pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, and to captivate.” John Piper said: “delighting yourself in the Lord is what shapes the desires of your heart so that it will be good for you for God to grant them…And the best way to bring the desires of our hearts into conformity with God is to put all of our energy and all of our effort into enjoying God Himself. When we enjoy God, not just His gifts, but God Himself, then the desires of our heart are shaped, are defined and created, in accord with our delight in Him.”
Carl Washington said, “Billy Graham spoke about there being in each person a place that God has made for His occupancy alone, and that you would never be satisfied until God had filled that place.” In Acts 17:24 it says that we “should seek God, and perhaps feel [our] way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us”.
John Piper continues: “When God gives us our desires, He will not be contradicting His own supreme value in our lives as our supreme delight. It is very similar to what Jesus said in John 15:7: ‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.’ So, there is this condition of words abiding in you, presumably because when words of Jesus really abide and take root as our passion and our satisfaction, that shapes what we pray for so that the answers come more surely, more regularly.”
And here is the crux of the Scripture (again John Piper’s words): “The reason those who delight themselves in the Lord receive the desires of their heart is not just because of one causes the other, but because one shapes the other. Delighting in God supremely determines, shapes the kinds of desires that we have in our heart.”
The next verse in the Psalm spells this out for us: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.” (37:5) Knowledge of God’s great love for us will indeed give us delight. To commit ourselves to the Lord means entrusting everything–our lives, families, jobs, possessions–to His control and guidance. To commit ourselves to the Lord means to trust in Him, believing that He can care for us better than we can ourselves. And when we truly believe this, we can “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (37:7a).
What I must continue to remind myself is that the Lord isn’t here for me, I am here for Him. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:16-17) I am to abide in Him and His Words in me (John 15:7) because “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)
This world isn’t here for my comfort. I am to “continue to work out [my] salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in [me] to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” (Phil 2:12b-13) I can only do that as I focus on the Lord, and submit myself to His plans for me. I can do that because “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
John MacArthur said, “The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path. The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.” To know Him, we must seek to know Him better. The Lord promises: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13) Today I choose to seek Him with all my heart and delight in Him.
- Bible Gateway and Life Application Study Bible
- Is Oprah Right on Psalm 37:4 by John Piper