by Leanne Popeko
January 4, 2011
Psalm 37:4—we’ve heard it many times. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This verse pops up often in conversations about singleness. Though I’m thankful for the reminder when it does come up, I have to confess that I haven’t quite understood what it means to “delight in the Lord.” It sounds lovely, but what do I actually do to delight in Him? Can I honestly say I delight in Him now, and if I say yes, what examples could I produce that would prove it (to my own heart)?
Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means to delight in the Lord and I’ve come to the conclusion that I think it must begin with the gospel.
If the gospel is true: that we were created for perfect fellowship with the holy God of the universe, but because of sin we are separated from Him and our hearts, minds, and wills are all affected by that sin…
That apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead, we love darkness and hate things that are pure and holy, and we’re heading for an eternity apart from God where we’ll feel the weight of conscious guilt and torment with no relief possible…
That God intervened into this desperate situation and appointed His own Son who had been with Him for all eternity, to come to earth to take on all of our sin and bear the wrath of God (who is a just God and must punish sin as an earthly judge would punish someone who broke the law…)
And that by the grace of God, through faith in Christ, we can be restored to the relationship with Him that we were created to have, and because of His mercy, when we repent of our sin, we’re forgiven of all of it and will enjoy the wonder of His presence for all of eternity…
If all these things are true (and they are), then shouldn’t that bring about the deepest expression of delight in our hearts and minds?
This delight can and should be felt by all believers. In fact, God Himself wants us to delight in Him because His Word tells us to.
Not only this, but there’s another crucial aspect to delighting in the Lord, and that is delighting in His Word. Delighting in Him is not merely a feeling of delight, but also an act of obedience and spiritual discipline through reading, learning, knowing, practicing, and treasuring His Word. There are so many passages in the Bible that talk about this. I’m just going to list some here:
Psalm 1:1-2 “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers, but his DELIGHT is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night.”
Psalm 40:8 “I DELIGHT to do Your will, O my God, Your law is within my heart.”
Psalm 111:1-2 “Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart…great are the works of the Lord; they are studied by all who DELIGHT in them.”
Psalm 112:1 “Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly DELIGHTS in His commandments.”
Psalm 119:15-16 “I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall DELIGHT in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your Word.”
Psalm 119:24 “Your testimonies are my DELIGHT; they are my counselors.”
Psalm 119:35 “Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I DELIGHT in it.”
Psalm 119:47 “I shall DELIGHT in your commandments which I love.”
Psalm 119:92-93 “If Your law had not been my DELIGHT, then I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have revived me.”
So we can see a clear theme in Scripture that tells us that delighting in the Lord means delighting in His Word and following His commandments.
Although the idea of delighting in the Lord comes up a lot when talking about singleness, we understand that this isn’t only for singles. It speaks to all people, everywhere, regardless of marital status. How sweet a marriage must be if both parties delight in the Lord and in His Word. I’m convinced that if God brings a gentleman into my life someday, this quality of delight needs to be evident in his life (thus, it better be evident in my own life, too!) What’s more attractive than a person who is deeply delighted by the Savior? I can’t think of anything…
Delighting in the Lord comes from a heart that is consumed with a love for Him, because we understand the profound nature of what He has done. Certainly this doesn’t stop once we’re married. It’s not something to do because we have no other viable option as a single—because we have nothing else in life that brings us any joy. Gracious no! Delighting in the Lord should be our ultimate source of delight, period. And always! No matter what. It should continue until the day we get to glory, where we’ll spend an eternity of delighting in Him in ways we can’t comprehend until we get there.
I think we single folks can be tempted to think that marriage will bring us a certain delight that we’re unable to have without a spouse. Well, certainly it’s true that there are special things within marriage that a single person doesn’t experience, but, that doesn’t mean we lack the ability to know meaningful (and happy!) delight right now, right where we’re at.
In fact if we haven’t yet grabbed a hold of delighting in the Lord, I think this must be the root of what we feel we’re lacking, rather than marriage being the source of it. Fellowship with Christ and delight in Him has got to come first. Otherwise we might drain the life out of a spouse if we look to him or her to fulfill that deepest longing for delight and we’ll have this sense that we’re still missing something. Perhaps then we might even resent our spouse for not satisfying the deepest longings of our hearts, but really, that’s placing a requirement on him or her that isn’t biblical or even possible.
Delighting in the Lord is something we’ll be doing for eternity, so I think a lot of energy should be put into wrapping our minds around what it means to delight in Him now…and then as we delight in Him, Psalm 37:4 says He will give us the desires of our heart. I think this is because our hearts will be aligned with Him—His will becomes our will. We trust Him more and we begin to desire what He desires, believing that what He desires for us is for our very best. It becomes less about circumstances or things and more about an intimate fellowship with Christ.
I want to delight in the Lord—to treasure what He has done and what He has accomplished on the Cross—to understand what it means for those who believe in Christ, to know His Word and to follow Him with everything. There is nothing greater. Nothing purer. Nothing more beautiful. Nothing more exciting. Nothing more adventurous. Nothing that will thrill our hearts more or satisfy our deepest longings.
Because we were created to delight in Him.