By Danny Tippit
Psalm 37:4 has to be right up there as being one of the most misunderstood verses in the bible. Here is what is says in the New King James Version…
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
So what do you think when you read that? Emphasis on ‘your heart?’ I know for me in my early days as a Christian when this verse came across my path it told me that God will grant me what I desire. Somewhat like a genie, right? Not so much. Many, many, many years later God has helped me understand what being a disciple of Christ really entails and how desire plays a part in our lives.
Back during the early New Testament days, a disciple was someone who would reflect who their teacher was through their actions, words, pursuits, and, in general, their life (basically a biblical ‘mini-me’). Maybe a little raw in terminology, but seriously, the major Rabbis of the day would pour into their students and those students would absorb and then emulate their teacher. Mathete, the Greek word for disciple, originates from the verb manthano, which means ‘to be in the practice of.’ Jesus may have chosen people, but he produced practitioners of the habits he modeled, a.k.a. disciples. Jesus taught that being a disciple was about symptomatic action overflowing from the heart. He didn’t just want to teach them some great things that they already knew from Jewish scriptures. He knew that one day his very Spirit would dwell inside his followers. He wanted to invade them.
So how does that affect us? Going back to Psalm 37:4 let me read it from the Message version: “Keep company with God. Get in on the best.” How does this change things? First, those desires that are mentioned are not our desires. God desires something better and he wants to share those. Second, he doesn’t want those desires to be something that just meanders in and alongside your desires. Even better, he wants to replace your desires with his. At the very least, he wants to give your current desires more foundation in him.
What I am thankful for is this verse and its meaning is that God has taken my old desires—some good, some not so good—and he has revamped them with a God-centered source. He has taken those fleshly desires away and replaced them with His very own desires. Without rewriting the Bible, let me reword Psalm 37:4 this way, “God wants to spend time with you so you can get to know him and what his desires are for you and your life and how those desires will delight you and fulfill His plan for your life. Then from what flows out of your heart’s desire that is rooted in God will come to fruition.” Oh, how thankful I am for a loving and caring God. Thank you for bringing alignment to the desires in my heart, that my passion is founded in Christ and my drive is energized by your grace!