Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalm 37:4)
This promise which we find in one of the psalms inevitably raises some questions. What is it to delight in the Lord? What does it mean that He shall give you the desires of your heart? Does it mean that He will give you anything you desire? Or perhaps it means that He will put desires in your heart? Or perhaps both?
To delight in the Lord doesn’t mean that we have to do a lot of things to love Him more or put in a lot of effort to delight in Him. I vividly remember my days in the church during worship, which meant that we song various songs where it was expected that we stood and if the emotions were forceful enough we even raised our hands. During the worship the pastor or worship leader urged us to show our devotedness to the Lord. I sometimes found this immensely difficult. There were days when I couldn’t conjure up the right amount of devotion or emotions. Perhaps I had quarreled with my wife before we left for church. I already felt condemned due to our conflict and now the condemnation worsened because I didn’t feel I loved the Lord the least. And I didn’t think that He loved me due to my lack of self-control and devotion.
To delight in the Lord is recognition. It is the kind of recognition which appreciate that He is the great giver and we the recipients. We recognize that He is our life, that we are in a most stunning union with Him, and that we are an outshining of His glory. We recognize that we are loved and accepted by Him to the degree that we love and delight in ourselves. It is to recognize that He isn’t somewhere out there apart from us. We are one. I enjoy the same quality of oneness as Jesus and God had and still have. To delight in the Lord is to have entered the Romans 8 reality where all my efforts to please Him through my Romans 7 experience have been denounced as nothing and by faith I live by the Spirit and my confession is; if you have seen me you have seen the Father.
Since we are in a union with God it should be evident that we can trust our desires because He has put them there. We are a manifestation of His desires and we are manifestors of His desires. We move into this reality as well by faith. Now many may object that this is a license to sin, to engage in all kinds of excesses. Such a view is, however, contrary to faith. He is our keeper and sin has no longer dominion over us, because we not under the law, but under grace (Rom 6:14). What challenges our faith mostly is that we merely are able behold things disjointed and fragmented in this temporal world. We sometimes easily fall prey to appearances. They do not, however, convey the whole picture. Appearances can only convey fragments. Faith moves past appearances and acknowledge that everything which wells up in us is God even though we not always understand our emotions, reactions and thought patterns. We leave it all to God and trust His outworking in and through us.
If this verse is to be something which isn’t just another wonderful word that doesn’t find any application in our lives it is vital that we come to understand that when the Bible states that we are dead to the law it means that every law, precept, command, ordinance and “ought to” that is perceived as outside ourselves is the law. We can for instance not say that we are dead to the ten commandments, but Jesus word about loving our neighbor and loving the Lord with all our hearts is still valid when this commandment which Jesus issued is also perceived as something external. We are dead to everything which attempts to govern us from the outside. Every must to, have to, ought to is nailed to the cross. When we fail to live up to those external biddings we experience condemnation. In Christ there is no condemnation simply because He is our life and He is our desires. Our heart is our innermost place. From this well of life our desires surface and they are easy to obey, because they are us. He has fulfilled the law in us and now we spontaneously are expressers of His nature which is love.