“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”—Psalm 37:4 English Standard Vversion
Who wouldn’t want to receive the dreams and desires of their heart? Everyone from life coaches to Oprah to scammers are willing to help you with this. Search the Web for “How to fulfill your dreams” or “How to manifest the life you desire”—actually, don’t!—and you’ll find plenty of “free” advice. People have tried conjuring up genies, searching for hidden treasure, and getting involved in dark forces like witchcraft and sorcery to get what they desire. Folks who would consider themselves followers of Jesus make wishes as they blow out their birthday candles, as they view the first star they see at night, as they throw a coin into a fountain, and more.
This verse—Psalm 37:4—is not about conjuring up or wishing for the life you’ve always wanted. And it’s not about doing something to get God to do something for you or give you something. It’s all about your heart, your attitudes, your priorities. I’ll explain that, but first I’d like to encourage you to take a few moments and meditate on this verse.
First, in your mind or in your Bible, underline “in the Lord.” Think of (or write down) all the reasons you can delight yourself in the Lord. Think about his attributes, the promises of his Word, what he has done for you, the hope you have in him.
Next, ask yourself these questions: What does it mean to delight myself in the Lord? What will that look like for me today?
Then ask, In order to really delight myself in the Lord, what other things will I choose to not delight in? The life of following Christ consists of choosing the right things—living according to the Spirit and not the flesh. We make daily—even moment-by-moment—decisions to delight in the Lord and to live in and for him.
Be sure not to get this verse backwards. Our first priority is to delight in the Lord. It is not to seek the desires of our heart. But lean on the promise. When we do delight ourselves in the Lord, over time he does give us the desires of our heart. Why? Because as we delight in the Lord, over time his desires become our desires.