Posted on August 31, 2006
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
Once we truly delight in the Lord, He will then cause us to delight in Him more and more, and we will then find more satisfaction in Him then the things which were once temporarily filling the void (but ultimately dragging us down) inside us (See My Testimony). This is the abundant life which Jesus came to give us (See John 10:10). But since we have not been perfected yet, we can sometimes mistake worldly joy for the joy of the Lord, and that is what I would like to discuss in this article.
We may have spiritual pride because of some teacher that we are following, or because of our denomination or the church we attend, or because of a Christian family that we were raised in, or because of a theology system that we are promoting. Since we are deceiving ourselves every day (Read my article titled The Basis Of Just Examination for more info), our pride in all of these things and more can easily be mistaken for the joy of the Lord. We may be studing the Bible to merely have more answers than the next person rather than studing it to truly become intimate with God. This could also be mistaken for delighting in the Lord.
But to truly delight in the Lord and thus receive the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4), we must be sure that our delight is motivated by a fear (reverence) of God. This is revealed in the following verse: “He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him” (Psalm 145:19).
Such a reverence for God is not a matter of our own intellect, but it is a matter of simple child-like humility and faith (See Matthew 18:2-4). Once we have such a simple reverence, it is not so much a matter of whether or not we should be proud, as if God has given us some rule to ruin our joy....but we then see that we really have nothing to be proud of in the first place. The apostle Paul made this point in the following verse:
"For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (1 Corinthians 4:7)
If we truly have this simple reverence for God, then we will not be seeking our own since the Bible itself tells us that “Love…does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). So if we are still holding onto pride (of any kind), then God will not fulfill the desire of our hearts as He could if we truly delighted in Him (See James 4:6), although we may have mistaken the temporary worldly joy that we have in our pride for the joy of the Lord.
Once we have this simple reverence, this is the beginning of the wisdom which God wants to give us (See Proverbs 9:10). So once again, this reverence is not a matter of our own intellect, but we will abtain the wisdom from God which we all lack when we have this reverence.
The primary emphasis in much teaching today seems to be on seeking a blessing from God, and it is true that God wants to bless us. We may even recieve some blessings from God inspite of pride that is still in our hearts. But, an examination of some of the verses that I posted here should reveal that God can bless us most abundantly when we are seeking to bless Him and others rather than ourselves. To do so is to truly delight in the Lord!
Tragically, much of the teaching in many churches and Christian books today is appealing to mans pride and self-centeredness, and this seems to have made it all the more difficult for the church to discern the deference between temporarily worldly joy and the joy of the Lord which is everlasting.
For those who are seeking their own (as we all have), Jesus said that they have their reward:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:1-8)
The point of this passage is that we will receive the reward from God if we are seeking to please Him rather than ourselves. This passage reveals that those who are only seeking to impress others will also have their reward: As soon as someone is impressed by their actions, that is their reward, but they have missed a much better reward which God could have given them if they had believed Him in simple child-like faith. Furthermore, I don’t think that people are really as impressed as we think they are. Think about it: If our hearts are all the same (which they are indeed – see Jeremiah 17:9), and if we are all seeking our own, then no one really cares about how good the other person looks. This brings me to remember some words from one of my favorite hymns:
“Riches I seek not,
nor mans empty praise.
Thou mine inheritance now and always.
Thou and Thou only first in my heart.
High King of Heaven my treasure thou art”.
We will find that the praises of man are indeed empty if we compare them to the inheritance and treasure that we have in Christ alone. But since our hearts are all the same, we all have the natural tendency to do things in order to impress people. And once again, the carnal worldly joy that we receive from impressing others can easily be mistaken for the joy of the Lord – especially if we do not acknowledge that selfish pride is the motive behind this temporary, vain, worldly joy.
I believe that our natural desire to impress others is also derived from our natural desire to be loved. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be loved, but I hope it is becoming clear that God’s unselfish love is the only kind of love which will truly profit any of us. This is why the Bible tells us that “to seek one’s own glory is not glory” (Proverbs 25:27).
So God does not want to be glorified out of selfish pride (as man does), but He wants to be glorified because it is only His glory that will truly profit any of us. This indicates that God’s desire to be glorified is actually motivated out of love for us, and not out of selfishness. So this is the unselfish love which I have previously referred to in this article.
To desire for God to be glorified in everything that we do is to truly delight in the Lord, and He will then give us the desires of our heart (See Psalm 37:4, once again). And He can only be glorified in everything we do if it is Him doing it through us (See 1 Corinthians 15:10 and John 3:21).
Delight My Heart, by Twila Paris (Song on You Tube)
Be Thou My Vision, by Amy Shreve (Song on You Tube)
WHAT IS SALVATION?
BACK TO MY HOME PAGE