Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Psalm 37:4 Delighting and Desiring

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
-Psalm 37:4

These words from the Psalms are inspiring, yet a little bit confusing. We know that every promise in the Bible is true—Jesus Himself said that the “scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). But how many of us can honestly say we have everything we want? Does this mean God has broken His promise?

Some preachers/churches have adopted some strange beliefs to explain such Bible promises. America in particular is infected with the “prosperity gospel.” The “prosperity gospel” preachers claim that Christians should always enjoy health, wealth, and prosperity. This false teaching is based on greed and spiritual immaturity—not the Bible. Unfortunately, this teaching is catching on here in the Philippines.

So what does this promise really mean?

1. First, God Himself should be our Ultimate Desire

First and foremost, this passage challenges us to delight ourselves in God. Our selfish nature is to go straight to the “desires of your heart” line. This is backwards!

Consider the words of Jesus:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
-Matthew 12:44-46

What is the treasure in a field? What is the pearl of great value? It is salvation, our relationship with Jesus! I’ll repeat something I’ve said before: The greatest benefit of a relationship with God is a relationship with God!

Imagine this: A young man falls in love and marries. Within a few weeks, his bride tells him she is unhappy. “I thought you were rich,” she says. “I thought by now I would have diamonds, pearls, and a brand new Mercedes.” The husband’s heart would be broken!

We can be guilty of this same type of attitude. Like Solomon, we have a tendency to thinking about the blessings more than the One who blesses.

2. Second, God helps us to develop more mature, Christ-centered desires.

God is a loving Father. He is more interested in our character and our holiness than our comfort. Because of this, He has to say “no” to some of our requests as we go through the process of maturity.

What if a five year old boy asked his father for grenades and a rocket launcher for Christmas? How would a loving father respond? You already know the answer—a loving father would never give his child something that would harm him. Sometimes saying “no” is the most loving thing a father can do. Our Heavenly Father is no different in this regard.

Our desires mature as we mature. Our hearts become more in tune with His, and our prayers become more Christ-centered. Do we still ask the Lord for personal needs and wants? Of course! The Bible never criticizes this practice. The difference is that our overall perspective begins to change. God’s agenda becomes our agenda. This directly affects what we ask from God.

3. Finally, God meets all of our needs in His time.

Consider this statement from Paul:

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:19

Paul was actually in prison when he wrote this. He previously described being “content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12). He was content because his delight was in the Lord. He had learned to completely trust God.

We can trust God to meet all of our needs at the right time. He is faithful to do this! Notice I said “needs,” not “wants.” Part of the maturity process is learning to distinguish your wants from your needs. None of us have perfected this—it is part of the never ending process of spiritual growth.

Have you really delighted yourself in the Lord? Is He the all-consuming passion of your life? Make Jesus the center of your life and this will put everything else in its proper perspective.

These are the highlights of a message I preached a couple of years ago.  I accidentally deleted the post, but I was able to find it in a file and put it back up.

4 Comments

  1. Amen. I’ve been a Christian for almost a decade now, and i thank the Lord for teaching me how to delight in Him and in Him alone. Since this understanding, He has blessed me in ways I never thought He would. He shed off my “wants,” and I have learned to desire His desires. I believe this core verse you have shared is one of the keys to finding intimacy with God, who gives us our heart’s desire when we choose to seek Him first. I take delight in this post, Kuya Kevin! Thanks! God bless!

  2. is getting married a need or a want then?

  3. Pearl,
    I think it is a completely legitimate desire, and I think most of us would feel incomplete if we never get to experience the joys of marriage and family life.

    Marketer,
    Thanks for dropping by.

  4. Agrees. Very nicely put and truthful.

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