The Lord has given us many wonderful promises in His Word. But sadly, one of them is frequently misunderstood. It's not uncommon for someone to tell me about a prayer request and then add, "God promised to give me the desires of my heart." This makes the Lord sound more like a toy store than a wise Father. But when Psalm 37:4 is taken in context, we can understand God's principle for ensuring that we have right desires.
To delight in the Lord (v. 4) means to take pleasure in discovering more about God and following His will. Spending time with the Father—learning what pleases Him and praying for discernment to make wise decisions—has two results. First, the Holy Spirit aligns our heart's desires with Scripture; and second, we set ourselves up for blessing.
Delight in God derives from dedication to Him. When we commit our way to the Lord (v. 5), we allow His will and mandates to shape our thoughts, lifestyle, and goals. In other words, we acknowledge His right to determine whether our longing fits His plan.
Perhaps the hardest part of receiving the desires of our heart is waiting for them to materialize. Yet God's Word insists that we rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him (v. 7). This means relying on Him to work out circumstances even when achieving our desire seems impossible. Taking matters into our own hands is not "helping Him out."
God promises to give us our heart's desires in His time when our requests are aligned with His will. Claim the promise as written, and He will bless you.
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