What does it take to be truly happy? So many people spend their lives trying to capture a feeling that would somehow energize their day to keep going on.
In Psalm 37v4, the psalmist wrote,
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Countless preachers say, if you want to get the desires of your heart, then you need to delight yourself in the LORD. It is a give to get formula. Others have explained it this way, If you know God, you will know what He wants and then He will give you the desires of your heart, which are now His. Those kinds of answers don’t always settle nicely in everyone’s hearts. There is still that nagging feeling of desiring what you want as person and what God wants as a… God.
One of the most important rules of Biblical understanding is Context. Knowing where a verse appears and what is happening before and after the verse gives us clearer meaning to what is being said.
In this verse, knowing what it means to delight yourself in the LORD, is found in those verses.
Do not worry – v1 Do not fret because of evildoers
God does not want us to worry because of what other, ungodly people are doing. Worry is an internal condition of the heart and mind that puts the fear of the unknown above God.
God doesn’t want us to worry because He will take care of us.
Do not envy — v1 Do not be envious of wrongdoers
God wants us to keep our hearts from looking at other, successful people, and thinking that their evil actions are better than your godly restraints. It is tough to watch people who deny God get payday after payday. They drive the best cars, have lavish and long parties and can give to their kids all the things they ever wanted.
Envy doesn’t paint the right picture. Almost every biography you read of the successful business people, you read about a lot of regret. Many don’t enjoy their prosperity and continue to chase down every avenue for feeling good.
God reminds us that envy of the wicked serves no place in His kingdom. The only person He wants us to envy is His Son.
Keep the right perspective — v2 For they will wither quickly like the grass, and decay like the green plants.
The wicked have a very short shelf-life. It’s no wonder that we look at fame as short lived, it is. The right perspective to have is one that puts God as the all powerful king of the universe. He controls it all and causes it all and even permits it all.
While the wicked delight themselves in all types of pleasures, the godly delight themselves in following God’s way of doing things. God’s promise to us is that their way ends in destruction and His way leads to eternal life. They wither and decay, but we will become strong and live forever… in this life and the life to come.
The Word tells us more on what it means to delight in the LORD:
- Trust in God (v3) and Do Good (v3)
- Live life and Cultivate Faithfulness (v4)
- Make a commitment to live for Christ (v5)
- Trust in and Believe He will do it (v5)
- Your Righteousness Will Shine and Your Judgment are true (v6)
- Rest patiently (v7)
- Control your jealousy and don’t envy the wicked (v7)
- Stop your anger and give up on your wrath (v8)
- Spend time with God and He will give you victory (v9)
- Forget about the wicked’s prosperity, it doesn’t last (v10)
- Humility is what God looks for when He hands out blessings (v11)
These and more are what it means to delight in the LORD. Delighting in the Lord is about a lifestyle of thinking and living that reflects God’s character and desires.
It’s true, the more you think like Him, the more you become like Him. If your desires are to reflect God’s desires, then you will get whatever you want.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Jesus, the Son of God, who inspired the words of Psalm 37, repeats the same idea in His teaching on how to get what you want from God. “Abide in Me” is Jesus’ way of saying, “Live my life, live in my teachings and live out those teaches and everything you want will be done for you.”
Unfortunately, I haven’t always wanted to live like Christ. I’ve sung songs about living for Christ. I heard sermons that told me to live for Christ. I’ve even shouted, “I will live for You!”
But I haven’t always. There were growth spurts here and there. There were emotional moments, spiritual highs, that kept me moving foward in my journey, but not a life that “lived in” Christ.
At least not until I made a decision to live for Christ. I don’t mean a decision to believe that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, but a decision to say, I need to know more about the God of the Bible, so I can no more of His thoughts.
The more I know about what He wants, the more I will know what I want.
Are you feeling that way? Like, you want things but those things aren’t godly. You have a desire for these things but you know they aren’t what He wants.
There is a way that you can overcome those feelings and align your desires with God’s desires. A start is to keep reading the Word. Consume it on a regular. Increase your daily intake and even if you don’t remember every word or have “spiritual” thoughts about it, put it inside.
Then pray. Spend time with God in conversation. Talk to Him about all your concerns, worries, and fears. He enjoys listening to you talk and wants you to hear your complaints.
Talk to Him about other people. Ask Him for others and you will begin to see how you will change. Your desires will become more in line with God’s desires and then, you’ll get everything you want.