"Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
This is one of those nuggets of scripture that can be found in every Christian bookstore. It's on stickers, bumper stickers, bracelets, necklaces, posters, signs for your front door, signs for your bathroom, T-Shirts, scratch and sniff stickers and Wine bottles. (Ok maybe not the last two but you get the point)This is one of those "goodies". We memorize it because it has to do with us getting what we want. It's kind of fun in that it makes us believe that if we just hang out with Him, talk to Him, pray a little more for some other people and recognize He can do some things that we can't then He'll give us whatever we want. Seems like a pretty great deal! But is that really what this means?
Sadly, the meaning of this scripture has been lost in the translation. It's not the translation from Hebrew to English that's the problem, instead, like so many others, this scripture becomes a funny game of telephone that starts with our eyes, enters our brains and trickles down to our hearts. We so badly want this to mean what it doesn't, but if we twist it enough on that little journey from our eyes to our hearts, we can really make it seem like God is here to give us whatever we want. Let's face it, we wish this read, "Buddy up with God, recognize what He is able to do, and He will give you whatever you want. Just perform for Him, and he'll give you a sweet reward!"
Unfortunately, this scripture is so much more than the shallow game of scratch my back and I'll scratch yours we love to play with God. If we look at the entire Psalm, this line comes immediately after we are told to trust Him and feed on the fact that He is faithful. You see, our delight doesn't come from what we can do, but instead who God is. On this Earth, we see everybody out to please themselves regardless of the cost. There is no delight, only constant striving, hustling and fighting and our life is typically nothing more than a speed bump on the road to another persons gratification. That's why we constantly hurt. We are always being run over by people who love themselves more than they love us. But God is not like that. His love is unwavering and trustworthy. He proved it on the cross. He died for those He new wouldn't even accept Him. Talk about loving, now that's something to delight in!
The fact that we can delight in who God is and how much he loves us is where this verse and our life truly begins. We must start with that before HE gives us the desires of our heart. When we delight in God, we begin to take on His character, our desires change because they become His. His desires of love, justice, peace, grace and mercy will flow out of us and we don't need to wonder what we "desire" any longer. Without understanding why we ought to delight in God, we lose sense of the meaning of this scripture and the word desire is translated into "wants that gratify us" without God. But if we truly delight in the Lord, our desires become so much bigger than us and it allow us to be the vessel that God uses to show His love to the world.
Let go of what you WANT today and trade it in for the delight of a life lived in God's presence. In God's presence we are given desires that make us see the world like Him. Seeing the world like Him is what you need in order to see from an eternal perspective. Don't forget, if God thought our personal desires were more beneficial to us than delighting in Him, he had the authority to make this read, "Getting your hearts desires is what God wants, and when you get them, you can delight in Him." Fortunately, God knows better than we do, now there's something else to delight in!