...the desires of my heart

Have you ever been puzzled by a scripture verse, wondering what it means, and if God is really true to his word? I mean, there seem to be cases where the Bible makes a promise or a statement of cause and effect, but it doesn't seem to work very well in life.

I have made a career of wondering and asking God what's up with this. One of my favorite hang-ups used to be from Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart." You, too?


I worked diligently at it, being careful to snuff out passions that might prevent my "delighting myself" in God. It didn't work very well. The harder I tried, the more I had to admit that the source of much of my delight was not God, and in fact, it seemed like God was the source of a lot of trouble.

But in it all, I stumbled along toward one end: I wanted to know God, to live in his presence and have a relationship that brought true delight.

Slowly, it seemed like that was happening, and the focus of my life was increasingly on God. But what about those "desires of my heart"?

I have to say that few of the things I have longed for over the years have come to pass. Many of my deepest desires have been unfulfilled.

But over those same years, I have noticed something: The more I draw near to him, the more he becomes the delight of my life. And in this, the more the "desires of my heart" become the desires of his heart.

The central longing of my heart has quietly shifted, without overt choosing on my part, from all the things I thought were important in life to one thing: knowing - really knowing ¬¬-- and serving the One True and Living God, the God who loves me and delights in me far more than I ever could in him.

So, I guess it's true: He is giving me the desires of my heart.

Hallelujah!

8 Comments

I once had a conversation with a college friend about this very verse. The gist of the conversation was that when we view this verse from the perspective of "God will GIVE (hand)you the desires of your heart, we generally look at it as God giving us the the things we want - especially in the realm of materialism, relationships, and achievement.

What if we inverted that to mean this "God will give (Put) you the desires of your heart". This meaning seems to fit more with the previous portion of the verse of "Delighting in Him". When our focus is on delighting in God, we are open to Him placing desires in our hearts that He will then fulfill because they originated from Him in the first place.

What do you think?

Norah,

I think you're onto something important. As we spend more time in God's presence, we "grow up," becoming mature. Maturity in this case can be defined as "like him." When we are immature -- spiritually, emotionally or intellectually -- the "desires of our heart" reflect that: kids want toys. But as we mature, toys lose their attraction, at least as a central longing, and we shift more to relationships. So as I mature, the desire of my heart changes, and what I longed for earlier in life becomes just so much junk now. Sounds a little like some things Paul wrote, right?

You're right, Larry. Although, because I was a 'late bloomer' I do find myself struggling more and more with materialistic issues. I keep praying through them, and hopefully, they will lose their power to invade my thoughts. :-)

Nothing wrong with toys. There is, however, something wrong with making toys the indicator of our worth and success, or with putting our toy collection before people.

Thanks, Larry.

I do like nice things, but part of it is that as I've gotten older, I have come to understand that we spend more money on cheap things (thinking that we are being Godly by not spending more for quality things) because they don't last, or they become obsolete.

I guess there's a balance between wanting to have the latest thing (which has never been a problem for me) and being willing to spend a little more now for something I know I will continue to appreciate for years to come. At least this is my motto with cookware, furniture, and vehicles. I do always research the best price/value.

I guess the reason I brought this up is I do have a hard time because I have known Christian friends who try to make people feel guilty for having quality things. In the area of cookware and furniture, I am always trying to keep my guests in mind and what makes sense as far as hospitality because that is important to me.

I agree with not putting things above people. But, there are those who believe it is wrong for a Christian to have anything that is valuable.

I think too many Christians -- and perhaps others, as well -- equate poverty with holiness. But the Bible never once condemns wealth or possessions. The condemnation is of unjust acquisition of and unjust use of wealth. It's not about what we have, but about our attitude toward it, and what we do with it.

I once knew a medical doctor, a young man, who had a very successful practice. He lived in a very nice home, one I to this day cannot imagine for myself. (I grew up "po.'" We looked up to poor folks.) I was somewhat judgmental about this guy's wealth and any of the few other wealthy people I knew.

Then, one day, a friend who knew the good doctor better than I, told me of the astonishing generosity of the guy. He gave away a mind boggling amount of money. He owned a "cottage" on his considerable property, and let a family of five live there (plenty room) rent-free.

His generosity made me ashamed of my attitude. As my friend said, "The guy is proving you can't out-give God. The more he gives away, the more God gives him to give away."

I think this is my attitude as well. Once we understood God's generosity towards us, we began to understand the blessing of being generous to others.

Thank you for helping me with this issue. I've lived in both poverty and plenty, and I must admit that I as one of those Christians who equated poverty with holiness. Your explanation really helps me put it in perspective. :-)

To God: I am wrong... I get confused always in my ego that this world revolves around me. I am selfish to the core. Please save me. I have no church or defined religion and have been lost all my life. Please grant me the strength to do what's right.. The Serenity Prayer... Thank you.
Ken

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  • Ken Stoutenburg said:
      To God: I am wrong... I get confused always in my ego that this world ...
  • Norah L. said:
      I think this is my attitude as well. Once we understood God's generos...
  • Larry Baden said:
      I think too many Christians -- and perhaps others, as well -- equate p...
  • Norah said:
      Thanks, Larry. I do like nice things, but part of it is that as I've ...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Nothing wrong with toys. There is, however, something wrong with makin...
  • Norah said:
      You're right, Larry. Although, because I was a 'late bloomer' I do fi...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Norah, I think you're onto something important. As we spend more time...
  • Norah L. said:
      I once had a conversation with a college friend about this very verse....

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