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Living By Faith Blog

July 24, 2014 26 comments

Delight Yourself in the Lord and He Will Give You the


Desires of Your Heart
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The Desires of YourHeart

Our hearts are always full of desires.

Whether its desire for food, or friends, or God, or sex at every waking moment we are
always desiring something.

Which is why the promise of Psalm 37:4 captures our attention

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Powerful promise. But what does it mean?

Some think it means that if I delight in God, then he will give me whatever else I desire,
whether it be a job or health or a new car.

But there are a couple reasons I dont think thats what this promise means.

What Happens When We Delight in the Lord?

One reason is because of what happens when we delight in the Lord.

Think of a time when you delighted in something maybe a sunset. While you delighted
in the sunset, were you desiring food? Or new shoes? Or fame? No.

As you delighted in the sunset, what you desired was the sunset. You wanted to keep
enjoying the beauty of the sunset.

Later on you might have other desires, but at the moment that you delight in the sunset,
what you desire is the enjoyment of the sunset.

In the same way, when we delight in the Lord what we desire is the Lord to keep
beholding his glory, worshiping his majesty, seeing his beauty.

So when we delight in the Lord, the desires that we have in our hearts are desires for the
Lord. So what Psalm 37:5 means is that if we delight in the Lord, he will satisfy our
desires for him, by giving us more joy in him.

Does God Give Believers Everything We Desire?

Another reason is because in the Bible God does not give believers everything they
desire.

Take Job, for example. Job was the most righteous man in the world (Job 1:8), which
meant he delighted in the Lord. And surely Job desired that God would immediately heal
the boils on his body. But God did not give Job this desire of his heart (Job 2:8).

Think also of David. David delighted in the Lord. And David desired to build a temple to
the Lord. But God did not give David this desire of his heart (1 Chronicles 17:1-4).

Or take Paul. Paul also delighted in the Lord. And Paul desired that God remove his
thorn in the flesh. But God did not give Paul this desire of his heart (2 Corinthians 12:9-
10).

So the Bible does not show God fulfilling all the desires of everyone who delights in him.
But the Bible does show that if we delight in the Lord, then he will fully satisfy us in
himself (Psalm 73:25-26).

What Do We Learn from the Rest of Psalm 37?

I read through the rest of this psalm, to see if there were other promises that might help
us understand what it means for God to give us the desires of our heart.

I was surprised to discover one promise that was repeated five times in this Psalm. Its
the promise that the righteous who meekly wait for the Lord will be blessed by God with
the gift of the Land (Psalm 37:9; Psalm 37:11; Psalm 37:22; Psalm 37:29; Psalm 37:34).

So what was this gift of the Land? I assumed it was the earthly Land of Israel.

But then I remembered that the Land Abraham was looking forward to receiving was a
better country, that is, a heavenly one, which is the city which has foundations, whose
architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:16,10).

This deserves further study. But it makes me think that Psalm 37s promise of the Land
is not just about the earthly land of Israel, but also has something to do with enjoying God
forever.

If so, then the promise of the Land is another way of describing Gods promise to give us
the desires of our hearts by satisfying us in himself.

Satisfied Hearts

Thats what God promises us in Psalm 37:4 satisfied hearts.

God promises that if we delight ourselves in him, his glory and beauty and love and
majesty will so fill us that we will desire nothing else. Our hearts will be completely full.
We will be perfectly content. He will have satisfied every desire of our hearts in
himself.

And Psalm 37:4 teaches that God will do this for everyone who delights himself in the
Lord.

Which raises one last question

How Do We Delight Ourselves in the Lord?

This is not something we can simply choose to experience. Because of our remaining sin
we need the Spirits work to see and feel Gods glory in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18; 2
Corinthians 4:6).

So this is not ultimately under our control. It is a sovereign, gracious, and blood-bought
gift from God.

But there are steps we can take through which God promises to give us this gift.

First, confess sin. Sin grievesthe Spirit, diminishing his work (Ephesians 4:30). So turn to
Christ, and confess to him all known sin.

Second, trust Christ. God provides the work of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:5). So
look to Christs mercy, by faith alone. Turn from everything else to trust him to change
your heart so you see and feel him as your all-satisfying treasure.

Third, pray for the Spirits work. Jesus promised that the Father will increase the work of
the spirit on everyone who asks (Luke 11:13). So pray earnestly.

Fourth, meditate on Gods word. The Spirit softens our hearts, and reveals Christ, through
his word (Ephesians 6:17). So find passages displayingGods glory in Christ, and read
them slowly, thoughtfully, and prayerfully.

Fifth, humbly and persistently wait on the Lord. He promises that as we come to him in
faith, he will satisfy our hearts by pouring out his Spirit and revealing Christ to us (John
6:35; John 7:37-39; Galatians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:18). So trust his promise, and persist in
seeking him.

He will be faithful. He will pour out his Spirits work so you once again can see and feel
the glory of Jesus Christ.

And when you do, you will find yourself delighting in the Lord so satisfied in him that
you desire nothing else.

Just writing those words helps me see how much I need him. So enough on this blog
post. Time to seek the Lord.

Questions? Comments?

Id love to hear them. Leave a reply below thanks.

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What Are the Promises of God?


How to Be Content

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A Reader Asks: What if Ive Never Had Joy in Christ?

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26 responses

K
July 31, 2014

Second, trust Christ. God provides the work of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:5). So
look to Christs mercy, by faith alone. Turn from everything else to trust him to change your
heart so you see and feel him as your all-satisfying treasure. Steve, I know Ive asked this
before, but can you help me again with this step? My mind says Im unwilling and unable to
trust Christ; I dont want that to be the case! how do I trust Him so I can receive the work of
the Spirit that I so desire?

Reply

Steve Fuller
August 1, 2014

Good question, Kathryn.

First of all, you have every reason to trust Christ, and no reason not to trust him.

So the fact that we often struggle to trust him Is not because of any flaws in him, but
because of pride in spiritual blindness in us.

So I would pray and confess my pride unbelief, and asked God to forgive me through
Jesus. Then I would ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to strengthen my faith. Then I
would pray over Gods word, because faith comes from hearing the word of Christ
(Romans 10:17). And I would turn my heart to Christ and trust him.

I would repeat this process until my faith started to grow, and I started to see and feel
Jesus Christ as my all satisfying treasure.

I am praying for you.

Steve Fuller

Reply

K
August 1, 2014

I want to surrender. Of course I feel trapped in pride and like I dont *really* want to. But I do.
Today. Please pray He will help me. The wages of sin is death. He is God. Will you pray He
will help me digest that? Will you pray he will help me digest my need? Even if I feel wrongly
still, that he will help me accept that truth is truth and never turn from it? That He will not let
me go? How do I practically DO this when I seem trapped in my pride? Do I go to the word
and read the truth over and over and ask God to break me and show me that trusting him is
better than pride? Or is that still refusing to surrender? I dont want to go another day without
being safely in Christ and led by his Spirit, yet I feel so much further than Ive been before.
Help!
Reply

Steve Fuller
August 1, 2014

Its encouraging that, although in some senses you dont want to surrender, deep down
inside you really do.

I would definitely pray and ask the father to strengthen your faith and free you from pride
and unbelief.

So I would pray, and ask for God to strengthen your faith, but then I would do everything
in my power to turn to Jesus and trust him to forgive me, to change me, to satisfy in
himself.

Thats what I would focus on.

But as I hear you describe your pride, I wonder if you might gain some benefit by praying
over Scriptures showing how you have no reason for pride, And how, because of your
sinfulness, God in his perfect justice is every reason to punish you, but how God in his
breathtaking mercy offers you salvation in Christ.

Scriptures I find helpful are Jeremiah 2:12-13; 1 Corinthians 4:7; Romans 1:18-25;
Ephesians 2:1-10.

I am wondering if theres some lies you might be believing that get in the way of heart
humility and true humble repentance before God.

Maybe praying over the above Scriptures will help destroy those lies you can more
clearly see and feel the truth.

I will continue praying.

In Christ,

Steve Fuller

Reply

K
August 1, 2014

Can I pray and expect God to answer, please help me see my sin as sin and confess it and
hate it and turn to you in trust. Help me do it today! Help me desire your salvation and
yourself. Please do it now! I feel like I cannot trust you because my mind tells me Im too
prideful/dont desire to enough. Please come and change that in me! Please help me have
the faith I need so you can work in me! what if I pray that and dont feel any faith or right
desires? Just keep praying it? Please let me know

Reply

Steve Fuller
August 1, 2014

The response I wrote above was an answer to this question also

Reply
K
August 1, 2014

I am wondering if theres some lies you might be believing that get in the way of heart
humility and true humble repentance before God.

Yes, I know there are! And the worst part is my mind says, you want lies because youre too
prideful to see that no one deserves salvation! I dont WANT to want lies, I feel fear though
that Ive let them so prey on my mind that the truth will make me angry instead of humble!
But the truth is my only hope, so do you still just recommend the same course of action and
you will continue praying for help and humility?

Reply

Steve Fuller
August 1, 2014

Yes, I would recommend the same course of action. And I will keep praying.

Even though its our pride that causes us to believe lies, its still the truth of Gods word
that God will use to crush that pride and reveal to us the truth.

So read over passages like Romans 1:18-25 to see clearly why everyone deserves Gods
wrath pray over this passage, think deeply over this passage. Just like Jesus said you
will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32).

Reply

K
August 1, 2014

Thank you so much for the continued prayers. Also, please pray protection from the terrible
accusations my mind will make against me as I try to seek truth.

Reply

K
August 1, 2014

if you want to be saved, and will look to him and trust him to save you, he will.
Please pray God will give me this desire and faith everyday, even over all the things my mind
says. Is that futile for you to pray for me to have desire, or will God do even that?

Reply

K
August 3, 2014

Steve, what if Im twisted like my mind says? Is there a way for the word to change me to be a
lover of righteousness?

Reply

Paul Walton
August 5, 2014
Read Romans 3:10-18 very slowly, understanding that is our condition, then contemplate
what we deserve from God. The gospel declares that totally undeserving sinful people
can receive complete forgiveness & not only that, but receive Christs total
Righteousness in return for the cost of Zero input from our side.

To paint a word picture we are a still-born fetus covered with our own blood lying in the
dirt that has been discarded. But God in His mercy picks us up breaths Life into us,
cleans us up, & gives us a choice spot at His table as His own chid. If you still feel you
are too proud to be humbled by His Grace, then beg Him to show you the REAL you.

Reply

K
August 5, 2014

Thank you Paul. Will you beg with me that as I see the real me I will hate sin and delight in his
gift? Thats why I feel so confused; I feel like Ive seen the real me, yet my heart still feels so
wrongly! That I will see that sin is MY fault and blame nothing on The Lord and see his gift as
beautiful. That I will see beauty rightly! Is that down thing He can DO in me? If so, please pray
He will.

Reply

K
August 5, 2014

Something* He can do in me

Reply

Paul Walton
August 5, 2014

I will pray. Myself I dont often feel anything in my emotions concerning my faith. I
dont trust my feelings or emotions when it comes to my faith, because, like Paul who
says in Romans 7 that in himself in his flesh he knows no good thing dwells there.

The fight of faith takes place in our inner man, or soul, or ego or whatever we label it,
we battle against our flesh or sinful nature & on this side of heaven we will fight, battle,
war until we leave this earth suit behind. Our assurance is in Gods word, Phil.1:6 tells us
that Christ has begun this good work in our hearts & He will see to it that we will make it
to heaven, not by our strength, but by His.

This is the Gospel, that Christ came into this world to save worthless sinners, we fall at
his feet in the dust, with nothing to offer, but with everything to gain

Reply

Bambi
August 7, 2014

you are right!!!! I guess thats what I have been doing wrong? Ive been Putting all my mind and
heart on This person I believe I love! an working on it an worrying is he doing this that whats
he doing when I should put my mind and heart on The one man Who I can deeply Depend on
Not leaving me an thats the lord. Maybe Hopfully on what you are saying is that if I put my
mind an heart more on the lord an not on the guy Maybe The fights an negative will stop
Right!?!? This is good Advice For A REALY GOOD TIME!. Follow your heart

Reply

Jessica
December 12, 2014

Does God still delight in giving us our desires for example a husband or wife and children or
financial breakthrough. If He is supposed to be the desire of our heart what about these other
desires? Can we trust that He will bring these hopes to pass too?

Reply

Steve Fuller
December 13, 2014

Great question, Jessica.

I think there are times when God does delight to give us specific gifts and its because
those gifts will ultimately bring us even more delight in him.

But I dont think thats the meaning of Psalm 37:4. I think Psalm 37:4 is referring to our
general heart-desires for joy and satisfaction, which God will always give us in
himself.

In Christ,

Steve Fuller

Reply

keijo leppioja
March 10, 2015

God is good and our delight are to be taked in to grace with Christ and be new creatore with
hevenly realm wiht us in to take care self too our own life to reading the bible and joy with the
friends of God in wonderful mercy over us in strong love of God,thanks and bless,keijo
sweden

Reply

Kathy
May 31, 2015

Really helpful I wanted to know how to go about delighting myself in the Lord
This definitely has given me some thought that I will put into practice.

Reply

jenny
September 15, 2015

Really good in helping me to delight in the Lord especially the five points on how to.

Reply
Muriel Johnson
October 10, 2015

This has been such a blessing and has really helped me in my study of Psalm 37:4

Reply

What is righteousness?
November 11, 2015

What is righteousness, and how doI attain it?

Reply

Steve Fuller
November 15, 2015

Crucial question thanks for asking it.

Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness Genesis 15:6.
So the way we are counted as righteous before God is by faith alone in Christ alone.

The moment we trust Christ as our Savior, Lord, and Treasure we are forgiven all our
sins and clothed with his perfect righteousness.

That doesnt mean we become perfectly righteous; we will still have sin in us until
heaven.

But it means that we are covered with Christs perfect righteousness, and God responds
to us as if we ourselves were perfectly righteous.

At the same time, as we continue to trust all that God promises to be to us in Christ
Jesus, we will grow in actual righteousness, obeying Christ and walking in love.

I hope that helps.

In Christ,

Steve Fuller

Reply

Ruthie
December 19, 2015

What a blessing this post was to me today. Im glad God led me to it, as I need to delight in
His Word even more than I do. Thank you for using your gift of instruction!
Christ is my life, as Col. 3 confirms; He became so because I died when I believed and was
covered by Him in baptism. I no longer long for what the world longs for ambition-wise.
Instead, I wait on His direction for my next steps and He doesnt fail to direct when I listen
quietly.

Reply

Maggie
March 11, 2016
I had revelation many years ago that this verse meant something much different than many
viewed it to mean. When we delight ourself in the Lord (as we are created by Him and for
Him), He will place in our hearts the desires He would have us have, thus giving us the
desires of our hearts. Those desires are not self seeking nor to gratify ourself, but to gratify
Him. As many good fathers experience gratification in being a gift giver to his children, the
same can be said of our Heavenly Father. While the primary desires that are placed in our
hearts are of being satisfied and fulfilled in Him, I believe he also places desires in our heart
that has good benefits here on earth because it delights Him to do so. Blessings to you all.
God Bless!

Reply

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