“Take delight in the Lord and he will give your heart’s desires.”
— Psalm 37:4

When viewed in its proper context, this verse is truly liberating. If not, it has been the cause of much disappointment to those who claimed its promise but without understanding the condition attached. There are a lot of Bible verses that have caused us more pain than relief, not because they were unreliable, but because our understanding of the Bible was defective. The truth that God presents in Scripture is, first of all, about God Himself. But we tend to bring ourselves into its center. Here lies the misunderstanding and what follows is the misapplication.

We’re quick to lock our hearts and our beings on this verse’s part that says, “He will grant us our heart’s desires.” That too had been the main attraction for me until the Lord awakened something in my heart. The whole verse rises and falls on the first part of the statement, which is “delight in the Lord.” It means, we will never understand what the true desires of our hearts are unless we delight in the Lord first. There are things we have always wanted in the past but no longer do. The bad news is, by the time we no longer desire them, our unguided desires would have led us into the web of complexity from which we can’t untangle ourselves anymore—we’re trapped! The deception lies in thinking we’re pleasing God when all we want is for Him to grant us our hearts’ desires. God is no longer the issue and, obviously, God isn’t the delight of our hearts. He’s now just a means by which our desires will be granted.

When God isn’t the center of our delight, our heart’s desires run wild, leaving others hurt and our hearts disappointed. Life will continue this way until we find our path back to the Lord Himself. In Him is our delight. The more we see Him as the object and source of our delight, then the more we glorify God, and the self is put in its proper place, not first. All the good things in life are no longer our first priority; God is. Delighting in the Lord isn’t an easy journey. It’s a long road back to the right path, but once God is our delight again, we’ll see an overwhelming change in our views and appetite, with a new heart with God-centered desires. A heart’s desire like that, God will lavishly grant!

“Lord, be my greatest delight and let other desires flow from this.”

— This excerpt is taken from Moments of Grace written by Arnel C. Tan and published by OMF Literature Inc. To get the full devotional in print or digital format, please visit any OMF Lit and Passages Bookshop or go to www.passages.com.ph.