Psalm 37:3-4 (NLT)
Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desires.
How many times have I read Psalm 37 yet just today really comprehended the words of this verse? Take delight in the Lord… Too many times we add our Christian walk to the other list of to-dos that mandate how we spend our time and what gets our attention. Sunday morning and Wednesday night, we attend weekly worship services. Check it off the list and move on. We focus on trusting the Lord and try not to worry. As human beings overridden with sinful and rebellious tendencies, though we try to “do good” it often results in miserable failure. Who doesn’t want to live in the land and prosper? But then I saw it like a neon sign flashing in the dark, “Take delight in the Lord…” Do I delight in Him? Oh, He most definitely delights in me or why would He sacrifice His Life just to live with me forever? Thanksgiving is behind us and now Christmas is straight ahead. Worry, stress, anxiety, fear and doubt are all looming on the doorstep ready to pounce. God has promised to give us our heart’s desires when we take delight in Him. This is different than prosperity in the land and safety but goes much deeper. He knows what will bring us complete joy and satisfaction. Oh, how our Father longs to give us just what we need to be content. When we attempt to trust without delighting in the Lord, it becomes a duty. Trying to do good without a close relationship to Christ is impossible because He is our Righteousness. When we delight in the Lord willfully, doing whatever it takes to know Him more and develop a close bond with Jesus – it is then and only then that we will have our heart’s desire.
Psalm 1:2-3 (NLT)
But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
This Christmas, I chose to get a live tree rather than hauling out the artificial one. My daughter and I headed to the tree lot and when we opened the door both stopped to take in the smell of all the trees lined up on the fence. Nothing beats the smell of a fresh-cut tree. After a careful selection process, the man pruned it, cut the trunk, wrapped it in netting and threw it in my truck. Riding home, I had such a sense of satisfaction. We put it in the stand and filled it with water allowing it to settle in the living room. The next day as I surveyed its branches after they all spread out, I noticed that it needed more water so I filled it up again. Once I was done, I grabbed the vacuum cleaner to clean up the needles that had fallen off. So the process begins, which is why most people opt for an artificial tree. Prosperity in Jesus Christ is a process. It requires the water of his word each day. There will be times of pruning when things will fall away. Those who delight in the Law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night will be like trees planted along the riverbank and bearing fruit in each season. They will prosper in all they do. We cannot expect to prosper without engaging in the process. The benefits and blessings of God are not earned but enjoyed by those who find delight in His Presence and are committed to God’s Process and Plan for their life. They find delight, extreme satisfaction, great pleasure and joy in not only knowing the Will of God but doing it.
Psalm 119:9-16 (NLT)
How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
One of the first verses that I ever memorized as a young Christian was Psalm 119:10, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against you.” Oh, how I wish I had remained true to it. It would have saved me a lot of heartache in my young life. Is God’s Word an important part of your life today? How much time do you spend independently in His Word outside of corporate worship? Is it a part of your everyday life? For those who delight in the Lord, it will be. It has to be. His Word is life. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. We cannot possibly know true intimacy with the Lord apart from His Word. When you delight in something or someone, you make time to engage and dedicate to that thing or person. I will delight in your decrees is also how we delight in the Lord. God’s Word changes our heart and mind producing expectancy based on His Perfection rather than worldly perception. When we begin to expect God’s Word in our life, it will come to pass. Faith allows us to expect what we cannot see. It is the evidence of things hoped for that carries us past compromise to have all that God has promised us as His Children.
Psalm 112:1-4 (NLT)
Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.
The secret to success as a believer is moving past what you think you have to do to be happy and just getting to Jesus better. Jesus is the Word made flesh. I know its tough to comprehend how all of that works but it does. Human expectation attaches itself to what we see and know to be true through everyday life. The Word of God raises our expectations. As we get to know more and more about God’s Glorious Standard, we become less enamored with what the world has to offer. Taste and see that the Lord is good is literal. You cannot delight in a dessert or delicacy that you have not tried. I can see that something looks good but until I “taste” it, I will not know if it will satisfy me. Joyful are those who “respect” the Lord in how they live and actually find pleasure in obedience. You will never feel this way about your commitment to Christ until you fully engage in it. For those who do, good things are in the near future. As things like stress, worry and fear fall off, the Fruit of His Spirit grow like love, joy and peace. “Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.” (Psalm112:6-8) When I think of all the years wasted on trying to make the perfect life, it is disheartening. All I ever needed was right there in the Word – His Name is Jesus and He satisfies my soul. He delights in me. As I learn to delight in Him, I will have my heart’s desires without ever working for a single one.
Proverbs 23:26 (NLT)
O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
You may be reading this in a desperate situation. Or maybe getting ready to head out and cross some things off your Christmas shopping list. Perhaps you cannot even make a list this year because there isn’t enough money to put food on your table or roof over your head. Could it be you are sitting at the bedside of a loved one who is very ill? Or bless the Lord maybe things are going great for you right now! Wherever you are there is an invitation waiting for you in this moment that will change your life for the better forever. “Oh my son (or daughter), give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following My Ways!” Your life could be better. Joy and peace are the abundance of God designated for your life when you follow His Son, Jesus Christ. Giving our heart to Jesus Christ means that our mind, will and emotions must follow. Our body cannot live part from our heart or it will surely die. We must commit our heart to the Word of God each day to live and prosper in His Will for our life. It is there and only there that we will experience delight, great pleasure, inexpressible joy and peace that passes all understanding. Delight in the Lord today. Give Him some time. Read His Word and mediate on it throughout the day. Consider it in every action, before you speak a single word. Walk in it and live it. In return, God will give you the desires of your heart. Who could ask for anything more?
Psalm 119:111-112 (NLT)
Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.