Sometimes a Bible verse does more than just jump off the page at you. Sometimes it sort of just invades your life and takes up residence in your heart. Some verses just have a deep and special meaning to you and speak to you in a way that’s very special and powerful. I call these life verses, and I happen to have three of them. So after spending two weeks in the expansive book of Isaiah, this week I wanted to get some laser focus going and look at my three life verses. They mean so much to me and my hope is that by looking at them and talking about them they might also resonate with some of you out there.
My first life verse is one that I picked up probably in like August or September of 2015.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I struggled for a short while about writing about this verse because there’s a chance that what I have to say about it is going to be taken wrong. To some people, it might look like I’m bragging, or like I’m saying “Oh look how holy I am”. The fact is, I can’t control those perceptions, but I also won’t be controlled by them. I think if you read this blog you know my heart, as I spill it out here three times a week, so I’m just going to trust that and trust God that He’s going to make sure that anyone reading this gets what they need out of it.
God answers my prayers almost daily. Not all of them, but some of them. Another way of saying this that brings it in line with my life verse is to say that God grants me the desires of my heart almost daily. These are not my perceptions of life, these are true and absolute facts. I see a prayer of mine answered almost daily, sometimes less than that, and sometimes multiple times per day.
Why is that? Am I better than other people? Does God love me more than He loves you? Obviously the answer to those questions is a giant, absolute NO. I’m no better than anyone, and God’s love for each of us is so unique and overwhelming and beyond comprehension that to even try to define it by terms of “less or more” is silly. But for the sake of my point, let me be clear. He does not love me more than He loves you.
So why then am I getting so many desires of my heart? Why are my prayers getting answered? It’s easy really, and the answer to these questions illustrates the crazy depth of the Bible. You see, Psalm 37:4 seems simple on the surface. Delight yourself in the Lord, He’ll give you the desires of your heart. God’s pretty brilliant, though, so something happens as you start living this verse.
When I first rededicated my life to God, I was in a really spiritually empty and dry place. I was very selfish, very sick, crazy closed off (socially), and in a place of deep self dislike (hatred feels like a strong word, but I definitely didn’t like who I was). The desires of my heart at that time were probably something like this. I wanted a lot of money. I wanted my legs to be better. I wanted people to leave me alone. Honestly, those were probably my three main motivations in life at that time. Those were my desires. All three were focused on myself, if you’ll notice.
As I began to fall deeper in love with my Lord, something started to happen. Knowing Him better, receiving more and more of His love, spending more and more time with Him, something changed inside of me. He began to transform my heart. My prayers shifted from being solely selfish to including the occasional prayer for someone else. I had a secret desire in my heart to serve God through playing worship music. He gave me that desire, and continues to give it to me.
You see, delighting in the Lord changes your heart, and as your heart changes so do your desires. So do your prayers. Do you know what prayer God answers for me almost daily? I pray that He’ll give me someone to pray for and/or encourage. (Funny story about that prayer is that it used to scare me. I refused to pray it for a long time because deep down I always felt like God would answer that prayer, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to actually have to pray for someone or try to share God’s love with them.) When I get the honor to pray for someone they’re usually very thankful and the whole time I’m thinking “I’m the one who’s thankful” because they are literally an answer to my prayer that day. It happened just last night, it happened two days ago, it happens a ton.
Delight yourself in the Lord. He’s so special, so different than everything around us. Society tells me to make myself happy, that I’m the most important thing in this world. God tells me the opposite. God tells me to serve others, to wash their feet, to bear their burdens, to pray for them, to help them as much as I possibly can, to put myself last and to put others first. Spreading God’s love in this world is the most important thing, and God’s love is so selfless. I’ve shared this before but one of my pastors has a saying called J.O.Y. Jesus, Others, Yourself. If I could be so bold, I think I might modify his saying to just be J.O. Because I find that when I’m putting Jesus first, and then attending to Others second, by the time I get to Yourself, God’s already taken care of me. He provides all that I need. In the course of serving Him and serving others, I’m getting what I need.
I’m nobody special on my own. I don’t have a special phone line to the ear of God. But I have learned that when I’m delighting in Him, when I’m submitting myself to Him, when I’m making him FIRST in my life, that He tends to deliver unto me the desires of my heart. These days most of those desires are for more opportunities to share Him and to help others. Not all of them, some of my desires remain selfish, but compared to where my heart started out on this journey it’s a world of difference. Honestly, I’d rather die than go back to being who I was without God as the center of my life. That might sound weird or even crazy, but that’s how little desire I have to be that person ever again.
If you don’t find it easy to delight in God, then I challenge you to learn more about Him and spend more time with Him. There is no more delightful thing in existence than this God of ours. But at first He is a bit of a mystery, and so complex, and sometimes He can seem so far away. You gotta get in your Bible, because that’s where He shares His heart with us. And there’s nothing that’s ever existed as beautiful and as amazing as His heart.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, thank you so much for the miraculous work you do in us. You were bold enough to put Psalm 37:4 into the Bible because you knew that once we started delighting in you, our desires would fall in line with your heart and your will. I’m so thankful for how you transform and redeem us, constantly refine and grow us. Every step of the journey reveals more of you, I’m so excited to be where I’m at but also so excited to discover what’s next with you. Lord, I ask that for those who don’t know what it means to delight in you, you would show them. Draw them into a deeper relationship with you, start to renew their mind and their hearts, show them the beauty that comes along with being associated with you. Thank you so much, Lord, I thank you with all of my heart for all that you do in our lives. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.
If you’re reading this then you survived (most of) Monday, so congratulations. I had a bit of a rough one but I don’t even care because God’s amazing and when I keep my eyes focused on Him its impossible for any troubles of this world to drag me down. I love you guys very much!