Psalm 37:4 was one of the first verses I learnt off by heart as a young Christian – “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
As I pondered these words, which also form the first of four crucial mission statements by my local church (to “Delight in God”), I mulled over what this little phrase truly means.
Delight yourself. It involves a decision; a decision made by you – no one else can make it happen, in the same way that you are not responsible for others to delight. You don’t have to do it. And delight won’t necessarily fall upon you randomly without some participation.
Delight yourself. It involves an action – stepping out and doing something or looking out for something to ‘delight in’. Similar to the word ‘enjoy’, which usually accompanies an action or an experience. For example, we say “I enjoy making/ going/ watching…” How can I actively delight in God? What can I do to encourage delight? Praising? Thanking? Resting in Him?
Delight yourself. It involves emotions. Delight is usually hard to contain; you can’t help expressing it somehow. Like a child’s joy in finding their garden covered in the first snow of winter. Or the overwhelming desire to share that good news you’ve received.
A saying I heard that has impacted me several times in the last year is: “Delight is the gauge of the human heart that measures what we value most.” (Adam Bradley, Life Church) Wow! What we delight in most, we value most.
If I have at times struggled with delighting in God, I’m sure it’s often linked to a tendency to focus delight on other people or activities; other things that provide only momentary joy. Not that those other aspects of life are inherently wrong or not worthy of attention. No, God wants us to enjoy the wonder of His world, our relationships and creative pursuits. But who or what do we delight in most?
I think to ‘delight in the Lord’ is a decision to find ways of utterly enjoying Him. Once we make a decision and begin to act, delight takes over and we can’t refrain from expressing the overflow of our hearts. “I choose to delight in God today.” May this be a daily practice for every follower of Christ.