Have you ever lost interest in something? For the longest time I loved video games but right as I graduated from high school I began to lose interest. I went off to a one year Bible College at a camp and didn’t play any video games for probably a good year or more. I played occasionally with friends in College but didn’t really spend the time I had when I was younger playing or reading up on the latest video games. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I picked up video games again. I found I really enjoyed playing them and even reading up about them. I found that the more I played the more wanted to play. This made me realize something: the more time you spend with something, the more you enjoy it.
You’ve heard it said that, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” But that’s not always true. It’s often more the case that when something is “out of sight”, it’s “out of mind”. My college years saw me spending very little time with video games but recently I rekindled my love for one of my favorite pastimes and the more time I spend doing it the more I enjoy it (up to a point). This reminds me of a verse I’ve thought a lot about of late.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
This is one verse I hear quoted by Christians over and over. It sounds so sweet. I’ve often heard it used in conjunction with romantic relationships; for example, if a girl needs reassurance that God will provide a husband for her if that is the desire of her heart. This thinking suggests that God is like some kind of divine-wish-granting-genie or that given enough prayers God can be akin to a divine-omnipresent-vending machine. Is God just a divine version of Santa Claus who enjoys seeing us get whatever our hearts desire? You see the Bible also says…
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
We often want what will harm us. Our flesh is weak and we yearn for what is bad for us. We are tempted to sin so easily. We want what our flesh wants. We desire what we believe will bring us comfort and happiness in the here and now. We are often such selfish and self-focused creatures.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)
Let’s look again to what the Psalmist wrote; what do we need to do before we can attain these desires of our heart? We need to delight ourselves in the Lord. Interesting. What could possibly be better than God? What could possibly be bigger than God? Who is more intimate than God? Who is more creative? Who is stronger? Who might be wiser than God? Nothing. No one. What is more beautiful than God? Nothing on this earth. If you find yourself delighting in God, what do you think your heart will begin to want? If you find yourself admiring the One who made our souls to run on Himself, what else would you find that would be more satisfactory to your soul? If you find yourself delighting in the one who made laughter, joy and happiness, what else do you think would bring you joy in this life? Once you have delighted yourself in the Lord, I believe your heart will want nothing else besides Him.
“God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” (C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity)
I remember the first time I tried a piece of cheesecake. Wow, it was so yummy. Little did I know, it was store-bought. Then I remember the first time I had some delicious cheesecake in a restaurant. Oh my! How had I ever enjoyed that store-bought pre-frozen cheesecake? Recently I tried some homemade cheesecake. I was blown away. Words fail to describe how fresh, delectable and delicious it was. Having had the best cheesecake in the world, how could I ever go back to eating restaurant or store-bought frozen cheesecake? Once we have tasted and seen that God is good, how could we ever go back to wanting lesser things?
Taste and see that the LORD is good… (Psalm 34:8)
Once you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart. He will give you Himself because that will the deepest, best and most meaningful thing your heart will truly desire. He longs to reveal Himself to you. He wants a deeper relationship with you. He wants to give you more of what you want if what you want is Him.