What does it mean to delight in the Lord?
I can only think of a few things on earth that I thoroughly enjoy. Breathtaking landscapes come to mind. Traveling from the city to the countryside, to the mountains or to tropical places causes me to experience refreshment and renewal. I can feel my whole body relax and the tension just melts away. I truly delight in God’s creation.
I also enjoy taking a break from cooking. Eating out once in a while gives me a renewed outlook on creativity in the kitchen. I especially get a thrill out of trying new foods. My mouth is watering even as I write! I take real delight in savoring delicious food.
And like most women, I really enjoy shopping! Not grocery shopping or even clothes shopping. I love shopping in stores that sell furniture and decorations for the home. Most of the time it’s just window shopping, but I just really get a kick out of browsing all the possibilities. I delight in seeing new things and being creative.
Related: How to Seek Happiness in God
There are all kinds of joys I experience in day-to-day life, like conversations with my husband and kids, watching a funny show or suspenseful movie or just finally laying my head on the pillow at night after everyone else has gone to bed. As much as I delight in family time, I take extra delight in time alone.
And let’s not forget coffee. And chocolate!
Delight Yourself in the Lord
In recent years I have come to understand the true meaning behind Psalm 37:4 and I’ve realized just how central this verse should be for every believer.
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
The book, Desiring God, has helped to transform my thinking with its premise that the pursuit of pleasure in God Himself should be the goal of every Christian. John Piper, the author, states that the book “aims to persuade you that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”
Delighting in the Lord is not merely enjoying his benefits, blessings and gifts. And it goes way beyond the gratefulness of experiencing His forgiveness. Piper says, “It is unbiblical and arrogant to try to worship God for any other reason than the pleasure to be had in Him. Not His gifts, but Him.”
I have to admit that the things I listed above that bring me pleasure – that I delight in – are things that are finite, things that will perish. And that’s the problem in this world, isn’t it? We search for pleasure in things that don’t last and our truest longings are left unfulfilled.
My earthly delights have a beginning and an end, and the sense of dissatisfaction always returns. I live frustrated because those pleasures are just temporary.
“If we are satisfied in the enjoyment of God alone, he will liberally bestow upon us all that we shall desire: He will give thee the desires of thy heart. This does not imply that the godly immediately obtain whatever their fancy may suggest to them; nor would it be for their profit that God should grant them all their vain desires. The meaning simply is, that if we stay our minds wholly upon God, instead of allowing our imaginations like others to roam after idle and frivolous fancies, all other things will be bestowed upon us in due season.” John Calvin
He will give you the desires of your heart
The second part of the verse says, “and he will give you the desires of your heart”. You see, God really does care about our desires, our wishes, our dreams. But, he’s making clear that left to ourselves the things we want in our flesh amount to nothing compared to all that can be found in HIm.
When we begin to really know who He is, how He is, how He works and what pleases Him our mindset shifts and our desires change. We begin to delight in Him.
His passions become our passions. We rejoice in the things that bring Him joy. We want what He wants.
Earthly pleasures pale in comparison to knowing God.
“The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God. Not from God, but in God.” John Piper
Delight in the Lord when you are Unsatisfied
In part 2 of this series, we’ll focus on how we, as Christians, can practice delighting in the Lord.
King David wrote many of the Psalms. God called him “a man after my own heart” when he chose him to be king over his people. He knew all along David would fail many times, but it was the posture of David’s heart that God saw, his broken and contrite heart. David always ran back to God, because he knew God’s heart, too.
David sought temporary pleasures in this world, just like we often do. He learned that those pleasures could never fulfill the deepest longing in his heart. And so did Solomon, his son. We struggle with the same thing, don’t we?
We chase after relationships, wealth, beauty, comfort and entertainment. We pursue knowledge, fame, position and power.
When we’re betrayed, hurt and violated and when life is just too painful to live we seek an escape through drugs, alcohol and sex. We learn to numb ourselves without realizing that we are missing out on the greatest, most magnificent thing that is being offered to us – God Himself.
God is glorified when we delight in Him
You may be just starting out on your journey with God or, like me, you may have discovered this truth after years of walking with the Lord because you were so distracted by this earthly life.
But once it hits you between the eyes you can never be the same. So simple, yet so profound.
“God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.” (John Piper)
- How can we be satisfied with a bowl of rice when he lays out before us a grand banquet?
- How can we settle for a bouquet of roses when he offers us a field of splendid wildflowers as far as the eye can see?
- Why look for thrills on a screen when all of God’s creation proclaims His majesty?
And how can we say we know and delight in God when we merely listen to a weekly 20-minute sermon and not delve into the mysteries of God’s Word which are ours for the taking?
What’s so delightful about God?
We can name more than a dozen of God’s attributes including these:
- He is powerful
- He is wise
- He is loving
God is so many wonderful things. A few of the things that I have been focusing on recently are his creativity – in nature, in man and how he works all things together for our good; his emotions – in how he responds to his people as we worship, when we pull away and when we draw near, how he reacts to sin and rebellion and when we love others; and his pursuit of those who are lost – he never gives up on those he’s called by name even as they resist Him.
How about you? What is it about God that you delight in? Let me know in the comments!
By the way, if you are interested in purchasing the book Desiring God you can find it at Christian Book. I am an affiliate, which means I’d earn a small percentage if you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you (which goes towards keeping my blog up and running!).
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