Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

 

Take delight in the LORD,
     and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Psalm
37:4 is one of those verses that Christians can twist to suit their own
fancy. I have heard some preachers claim, on the basis of this verse,
that God will give us anything we want. If we simply “claim it,” God
will give us mansions, yachts, luxury cars, and, well, you name it. To
be sure, God can and does bless us materially. But if we argue from
Psalm 37:4 that “God will give you anything you want,” we miss the
whole point of the verse.

Yes, this verse does promise that
the Lord “will give you your heart’s desires.” But notice the context.
That promise comes after an imperative: “Take delight in the LORD.” If
we put our delight in God, then he will give us the desires of our
heart.

How does this happen? It isn’t some kind of divine system
of rewards. Psalm 37:4 does not mean that if we enjoy God, he will
decide to reward us by giving us all the luxuries we want. Rather, if
we delight in God, if we focus on God’s nature, if we love God with all
that we are, we’ll discover that the desires of our heart will be
transformed. We will stop being so concerned about our own “stuff,”
even our own well-being. Instead, we will start to yearn for the things
of God, for his truth and peace, for his justice and mercy. Our desires
will begin to reflect God’s own desires for us and for this world. Thus
we will want what God wants, and he will give that which is according
to his will.

Moreover, the more we take delight in the Lord, the
more we will discover that what we desire most of all is a truer and
more vital relationship with him. Strangely enough, intimacy with God
both satisfies our deepest longing and intensifies that longing. So as
we learn to enjoy God’s presence, our heart’s desires will be
increasingly focused on God. We will seek him above all and, by his
grace, find him. Thus God will give us the desires of our heart . . .
for more of him!

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When
have you delighted in God? What helps you to enjoy God’s presence? How
has your relationship with God shaped the desires of your heart?

PRAYER:
O Lord, there is nothing better than delighting in you. To be with you
and enjoy your presence are magnificent beyond words. Thank you for
making yourself available to me, so that I might taste and see that you
are good.

O Lord, help me to delight in you more consistently. I
am so easily distracted. I can let the things and demands of my life
get in the way of my relationship with you. Forgive me, Lord. By your
mercy, increase my desire for you. Augment my delight in you by
revealing yet more of yourself to me.

I ask you, dear Lord, to
align my desires according to the ways of your own heart. May I want
what you want. May I seek that which is consistent with your will. Let
your will guide my prayers, my actions, my words, and my desires.

All
praise be to you, gracious God, because you give me the desires of my
heart. Most of all, you give me the inestimable gift of relationship
with you. Hallelujah! Amen.

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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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