Anyone ever read Psalms 37:4?
I believe this was the first verse I ever learned as a kid. I remember a specific time in my life going to Sunday school and we had to learn individual bible verses. My mom gave me this verse, which still holds dear to my heart to this day:
Psalm 37:4 New Living Translation (NLT) “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
Now, as Christians – I know we get excited over this verse. God giving us what we desire? When we start our journey as a believer, we can think of this verse as God will get me that new job, that house, that car, that spouse, that purse, those shoes, that business deal, that child. And yes, God does want to give us tangible things, such as these, as we live on this earth!
However, when you read that verse – you can also read it another way:
When we delight (take gratification and awe) in the Lord – then He will give us [place in us] our desires.
Whoa! Don’t believe me? Let’s travel to Philippians chapter 2:
Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
When God is in full work in us – He then starts to work within us, if that makes sense? Philippians 2:13 says that God works in us ( our heart, mind, soul) to help create a desire to do what pleases Him. So when He creates that desire to do what pleases Him, automatically our desires of our heart begins to change. This is a guarantee. Personally, I used to think – “Wow the more and more I go after God, that He will get me that car I really want!” But in reality, the more and more I went after God, my prayers went to “Lord, if you want me to stay on this bus and be on assignment, I will.”
As a child of God, the more He is at work in us:
our taste for things start to change
we will see the things we do a little differently than before
the more unselfish we get with our prayers
the more we want to do for others
the more He guts out junk so He can dwell there
But He also promised that He will give us the desire and power to do what pleases Him! So this verse confirms that when He is at work in us, we have to power to do what pleases Him. Without God dwelling in us, it’s very hard to do what’s righteous because we have nothing to pull from when it’s needed.
As believers of Jesus Christ – we graduate from our “old self” to our “new self”: our old (superficial and tangible) desires will turn in to our new (selfless and praiseworthy) desires.