Delighting in God

©iStock.com/yulkapopkova

©iStock.com/yulkapopkova

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4, NKJV).

Wow! That’s some promise, isn’t it? Just delight in God, and He’ll give you whatever your heart desires!

There’s just one problem: delighting in God isn’t exactly natural for us sinners. In fact, in Romans 7, Paul describes an internal battle that makes it impossible for us to truly delight in God.

So what’s the deal? Is God taunting us? Does He purposely dangle a carrot in front of us that He knows we can never reach?

No. As Paul goes on to point out (Romans 7:24, 25), Jesus is able to deliver us from this battle. All we have to do is accept His victory and cooperate with the Spirit as He transforms us into the image of Christ—and into people who truly delight in the same things that delight God.

But cooperation isn’t a passive endeavor. We can encourage this transformation by choosing to participate in certain activities. For instance, we can:

  1. Submit to God—rather than fight Him as He does His job of cleansing and remaking us.

“If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; you will remove iniquity far from your tents. Then you will lay your gold in the dust … Yes, the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver” (Job 22:23-25, NKJV).

  1. Cultivate the Attitude of a Learner—by seeing God’s Word as the treasure trove of wisdom He intended it to be.

“Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight” (Psalm 119:77, NKJV).

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments” (Psalm 112:1, NKJV).

  1. Meditate on Scripture—rather than rushing through a quick reading. We don’t get as much nutrition from food that moves too quickly through the GI tract. Similarly, we glean more from passages of Scripture that we take the time to really think about.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2, NKJV).

  1. Memorize Scripture—and make it truly part of our psyches.

“Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart … For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, and lift up your face to God” (Job 22:22-26, NKJV).

“I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8, NKJV).

  1. Get to Know God—really know Him, not just know about Him.

“Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you” (Job 22:21, NKJV).

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! … Those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing” (Psalm 34:8-10, NKJV).

  1. Expect to Enjoy God’s Presence—rather than seeing our time with Him as a chore on our to-do lists. Can you imagine dating someone with that attitude? How much more should we look forward to an audience with the King of the Universe!

They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalm 36:8-9, NIV).

  1. Enjoy God’s Gift of the Sabbath—our very own weekly date with God Himself!

“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable … then you shall delight yourself in the Lord” (Isaiah 58:13, 14, NKJV).

  1. Focus on Spiritual Things—and disappoint Satan by looking up, despite his many attempts to distract us.

“The ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Mark 4:18-19, RSV).

What delights does God have waiting for you today?

Right Sacrifices

In Psalm 4:5, David gives us some good advice: “Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord” (NIV). Among the blessings we’re to reap from this are great joy and peaceful sleep (verses 7 and 8). Sounds great, doesn’t it? In our hectic world, such blessings are priceless.

©iStock.com/BibleArtLibrary

©iStock.com/BibleArtLibrary

Just one question: What are “right sacrifices”? In David’s world, this referred to unblemished lambs or goats offered with a willing, obedient spirit. But when was the last time you sacrificed a lamb? It’s probably been a while. So what does this refer to in our time?

In looking through my Bible, I’ve found a few things associated with the kind of “sacrifice” that pleases God: More

Great Book!

How often do you think about your big toe? Probably not too often. But when I broke mine, I thought about it a lot—how to make it comfortable, how far I could walk before its complaining became unbearable, what areas I could negotiate with the crutches it required. And because I had this broken toe while playing the tourist in Washington, D.C., it even affected my ability to enjoy all the interesting and beautiful sights around me.

Freedom of Self-ForgetfulnessIn The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Timothy Keller says that egos are like toes. If they’re healthy, you don’t have to think about them. On the other hand, if you’re always thinking about your ego, that’s because it’s sick.

A sick ego asks questions like: What do people think of me? What do I think of me? How can I become famous/important/powerful? Have I proved my worth as a person yet? In other words, the sick ego has you constantly occupying the defendant’s chair in a courtroom, awaiting the next verdict. (Great! My verdict was “good person” last week … but am I still worthy of that judgment today?) It doesn’t matter how much you feed, pet, and praise a sick ego, it always wants more. (I have a dog like that.) More

Michal’s Love Story

©iStock.com/maxximmm

©iStock.com/maxximmm

Have you ever indulged a spirit of resentment? Maybe someone truly wrongs you and, when you bring it to their attention, they respond with the equivalent of “Get over it!” They don’t apologize, they don’t try to make things right, they don’t even seem to care that they hurt you. You have the right to be angry then, don’t you? Isn’t it natural?

If you’ve ever felt like this, you might find Michal’s story interesting. Michal was a real, honest-to-goodness princess—the daughter of King Saul. She fell in love with a charismatic hero named David. The charismatic hero apparently loved her too, because he went to war to win the right to marry her. More

Of Ferrets and Faith

©iStock.com/ GlobalP

©iStock.com/ GlobalP

Have you ever played with a ferret? My daughter (a vet student) gets to interact with all sorts of interesting animals, and occasionally I get to share in the fun. I’ve been introduced to several new creatures this way, but my favorite is the ferret, an animal I’d never even seen before since they’re illegal here in California.

Ferrets are like miniature, land-loving sea otters. They’re extremely playful, seeming to view everything as a potential game, and exude this incredible, bubbly enthusiasm for whatever they happen to be doing. They get so excited that they literally fall over themselves, jumping sideways, tripping over their own feet, bumping into things, and rolling around with joy. Though called a “war dance,” this is the ferret’s way of saying, “Come on, let’s play!”

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy …” (Galatians 5:22, NKJV).

Do I embrace the joyful spirit that God offers me? Or am I too busy with have-tos to enjoy the everyday pleasures He provides?   More