Friday, March 31, 2006

You Become Like What You Delight In

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4)
It is a truth that we become like whatever it is we focus ourselves on. It is also a truth that we attract whatever it is that we are. These things work in both directions: good attracts good; evil attracts evil.

Here is an example of the latter:
The wicked prowl on every side
When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
(Psalm 12:8)
Or as the NIV puts it:
The wicked freely strut about
When what is vile is honored among men.
You can tell what someone honors by noting what has free reign over them and who freely struts about around them. If they delight themselves in wickedness, they will receive the desires of their heart—evil. They may not like what they get, but they will get what they desire.

David recommends the former: “Delight yourself in the LORD.” The Hebrew word for “delight,” literally means to luxuriate yourself in. It is like a treat, or a delicacy to you. When you think of the Lord, does it put a smile on your face? Do you want more and more of Him? That is delight.

You become like whatever it is you delight in. When you delight yourself in the Lord, focusing your life on Him, you become more and more like Him. That is what godliness is all about — becoming like Him. Some people think that godliness is about keeping rules and scoring points. But that is dead religion, the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and what they are really only focusing on is themselves.

Delighting yourself in God is not about rule-making and scorekeeping; it is about relationship, focusing on Him, luxuriating in Him, letting Him have His way in you. You don’t have to change yourself—in fact, you can’t. But if you yield to Him, He will change you by His love, by His Word, and by His Spirit. Then, as your heart begins to beat in sync with His, and you begin to love what He loves and hate what He hates, your desires will become like His desires, and He will gladly fulfill every one of them.

Paul prayed for Christians “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17). This is intimate, personal knowledge of God that goes deeper and deeper and results in knowing Him more, loving Him more, trusting Him more. It is a personal revelation that comes by the Holy Spirit, and if you ask Him, He will gladly do it for you, too. That’s why Jesus came, so you could know the Father more and more.

Tell me what are the desires of your heart, and I will tell you what you are delighting in. Delight yourself in the Lord, and not only will you receive the desires of your heart, you will really like what you receive.