The Desires of the Heart
What are the desires of your heart? What is it that you want more than anything? A spouse? A child? A job? Financial security? Good health? Fill in the blank…there are a myriad of things that we chase after as the one thing that we think we need to be fulfilled.
What do I want more than anything? Good question. I was thinking about that as I was meditating on this passage from the Psalms, which has always been one of my favorites:
“Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” – Psalm 37:3-6
But, I fear that I liked that passage for the wrong reason. I heard a sermon recently that touched on this section of Scripture and challenged me to think about what it really means to delight oneself in the Lord and how that shapes the desires of our hearts. I realized that I have historically thought of this passage as a “do this for God, and he will do that for you” sort of verse. You know, that false notion that if I jump on board with God, then he will help MY will be done. But, God doesn’t work that way. Our service and love for Him are not bargaining chips, neither do they earn us God’s love nor move God to work within the confines of our plans. But rather, our love is a response. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
So, what does it mean to delight oneself in the Lord? I turned to my favorite commentary to see what Matthew Henry had to say about it. He says this:
“We must be well pleased that there is a God, that he is such a one as he has revealed himself to be, and that he is our God in covenant. We must delight ourselves in his beauty, bounty, and benignity; our souls must return to him, and repose in him, as their rest, and their portion for ever. Being satisfied of his loving-kindness, we must be satisfied with it, and make that our exceeding joy” – Matthew Henry, Commentary
Our joy and our hope should come from God. Our focus should be on Him. The Psalms also talk about delighting in God’s works (Psalm 111:2) and in God’s commands (Psalm 119). When we delight in the Lord, there’s a shift that happens inside of us: we begin to desire the things that God desires and our lives become characterized by the fruits of the Spirit.
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:24-25
Those things that were once our heart’s greatest desires pale in comparison to the desire for a loving and growing relationship with our God and Savior.
“Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” – Isaiah 26:8
When our desires and passions align with those of God, we will never be disappointed and then we can honestly pray, "your kingdom come, your will be done." (Matthew 6:10)
I don’t have time here to comment on the rest of Psalm 37, but I encourage you to read it. It is challenging and uplifting as it teaches us to “understand the providence of God and to accommodate ourselves to it, at all times carefully to do our duty and then patiently to leave the event with God and to believe that, how black soever things may look for the present, it shall be ‘well with those that fear God, that fear before him.’” (Matthew Henry, Bible Commentary)
Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Happy Gilmore. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!