“Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” ~ Psalm 37:4
This beautiful verse is a favourite of many: one of God’s precious promises that we hold on to. However, it is quite easy to miss the conditionality of the statement as our focus is drawn, almost exclusively, to the part that tells us what we will “get”/”receive” from God.
In other words, many of us only hear “He [God] shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” But that is only true if the condition stated in the first part of the verse are met “Delight thyself… in the LORD”. It is true that God loves us unconditionally, but it is also true from Scripture that God blesses us CONDITIONALLY.
God doesn’t promise to Bless us, unless and until we are in harmony with Him. This is aptly explained in the following Scripture passage:
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” ~ James 4:3
God does not give us the desires of our un-yielded hearts! God does not give us the desires of our flesh/human-nature.
We petition God for all kinds of gifts and outcomes, and they seem so pure, altruistic and necessary. However, if we have not “delighted ourselves in the Lord” we can’t even begin to see/understand what is good and noble and imperative, because we can only see life through our deeply flawed human perspective.
Therefore, our petitions to God very often fail, or seem to go unanswered. And, at best, we find rationalizations to validate God’s “unfavorable” response (“it was for the best, she’s in a better place now…”). At worst, we grow increasingly disappointed with God and, sometimes subtly/unconsciously, decide to make our way in life without Him. Sure, we keep going to church as a good Christian should, but we quietly go about our business without expectation of God’s desire to bless us, to meet our needs.
But God DOES want to give you/me “the desires of thine heart”, IF we will FIRST fill that heart with Him. That’s the KEY: sanctification secures our supplications.
To be clear, God is merciful; and in His provision many of our needs are fulfilled. Similarly, our petitions can “inadvertently” coincide with God’s will. However, this is entirely different from the purposeful prayer that produces perceivable results; as we are told:
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” ~ James 5:16
Believers don’t have to live impotent or conflicted lives. We don’t have to wonder about God’s character: whether or not He really cares about us.
We can discover the truth of God’s tender mercies if we will FIRST delight ourselves in Him.
IF we will set aside time, much time, for prayer, for Bible study, for meditating on His word; IF He truly becomes the source of joy in us, THEN we will have hearts/minds that are changed/sanctified (Romans 12:1-3): that are conformed to His will: that see life from His perspective: that can pray for the will of God rather than the will of flesh/man. THEN, when our hearts are at-one/in-tune with God, we WILL receive the desires of that pure heart. As Jesus said:
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” ~ Matthew 5:8
It is when our hearts are purified from human, self-centered desires that we will see, truly see, plainly see, God at work in our lives fulfilling every desire of our sanctified hearts.