Your Heart’s Desires
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 FURTHER 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.
Dear 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, 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.