Everyone loves the Scripture, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps. 37:4).
There is just something about that well-known verse that fills our souls with the possibility of receiving an absolutely wonderful gift from the hands of the Lord, isn't there? However, often when I am wondering why my dreams don't come true, I must admit that perhaps it is because I don't know what the word "delight" actually means.
As I was reading my Bible on early morning recently, I took the time to deeply digest the verse that immediately proceeds Psalm 37:4 and in that verse, I found what it means to "delight myself in the Lord."
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and practice faithfulness" (Ps. 37:3).
There it was right in front of my eyes—the obvious four-step process to developing a heart of delight!
Trust in the Lord
Delighting oneself in the Lord begins with the simple yet difficult decision to fully trust in Him. "Trust" is often viewed as a religious word, and we all might presume that we know what it means to "trust" the Lord. But in reality, how does one develop a lifestyle of wholehearted trust?
For me, it means to think about the Lord more than I think about my problems. It also means to absolutely refuse to worry and to remind myself every minute of every day that He is able to accomplish what concerns me!
The call to "trust in the Lord" is also an invitation to believe with one's whole heart that His Word is absolutely true and that His goodness will have the final say in every circumstance in my life. I will trust in the Lord.
The second imperative in this passage of Scripture is to "do good." If your goal is to delight yourself in the Lord, then you will also choose to do the next right thing. You will determine to be a blessing wherever you go, and you will choose to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit rather than the reactions of your emotions. Whereas choosing to trust the Lord is an internal response, the decision to "do good" is an external reply.
The resolve to "do good" includes making decisions that honor the Lord morally and ethically; it is the choice to be like Jesus in practical and in personal ways. If someone needs a helping hand, you step up and offer it. If there is a place that is lacking a servant, you become the one who willingly and cheerfully serves. I will do good!
The third unction of this delightful Scripture might be more difficult to translate into a practical 21st-century application. The command is to "dwell in the land." I believe that this verse implies giving yourself fully and completely to the season of life in which you are currently living. Wherever you are, be all there; plant your feet in the fertile soil of today. Don't live in the past or in the future but in the present, doing good and trusting your Father. I will live the life I have been given with pleasure!
And finally, we are told by the psalmist to "cultivate faithfulness." When I studied this phrase in the ancient Hebrew, I was surprised by its meaning! The word "cultivate" in this verse is translated as "to feed on, eat, taste, be maintained by, receive sustenance from." Most commentaries believe that the psalmist was referring to the faithfulness of the Lord.
As pilgrims in this land known as earth, we are to feed on and receive sustenance from His faithfulness. It is His never-changing nature that will provide all that we need as we walk through our lives. He is a promise-keeping God who always stays faithful to His Word; this one attribute of His glorious nature will maintain us as we learn to delight ourselves in all that He is! I will feed on His faithfulness.
Today, as you learn to trust Him, to do good to those around you, choose to settle into the life you have been given and feast upon His promises, you will learn the secret of delight.
As you delight yourself in Him, you will notice that the actual desires of your heart are changing in alignment with His heart and with His character. He will give you new desires as you delight in all that He is and all that He does!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written 11 books, including Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue, StormProof and Significant. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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