Delight Yourself in the Lord, and He Will Give You the Desires of Your Heart
Posted in In line with Scripture
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.-Psalm 37:4
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.-Psalm 145:19
A poor man had wanted to go on a cruise all his life. As a youngster he had seen an advertisement for a luxury cruise, and ever since he had dreamed of spending a week on a large ocean liner enjoying fresh sea air and relaxing in a luxurious environment. He saved money for years, carefully counting his pennies, often sacrificing personal needs so he could stretch his resources a little further.
Finally he had enough to purchase a cruise ticket. He went to a travel agent, looked over the cruise brochures, picked out one that was especially attractive, and bought a ticket with the money he had saved so long. He was hardly able to believe he was about to realise his childhood dream.
Knowing he could not afford the kind of elegant food pictured in the brochure, the man planned to bring his own provisions for the week. Accustomed to moderation after years of frugal living, and with his entire savings going to pay for the cruise ticket, the man decided to bring along a week’s supply of bread and peanut butter. That was all he could afford.
The first few days of the cruise were thrilling. The man ate peanut butter sandwiches alone in his room each morning and spent the rest of his time relaxing in the sunlight and fresh air, delighted to be aboard ship. By midweek, however, the man was beginning to notice that he was the only person on board who was not eating luxurious meals. It seemed that every time he sat on deck or rested in the lounge or stepped outside his cabin, a porter would walk by with a huge meal for someone who had ordered room service.
By the fifth day of the cruise the man could take it no longer. The peanut butter sandwiches seemed stale and tasteless. He was desperately hungry, and even the fresh air and sunshine had lost their appeal. Finally, he stopped a porter and exclaimed, “Tell me how I might get one of those meals! I’m dying for some decent food, and I’11 do anything you say to earn it!”
“Why, sir, don’t you have a ticket for this cruise?” the porter asked.
“Certainly,” said the man. “But I spent everything I had for that ticket. I have nothing left with which to buy food. “
“But, sir,” said the porter, “didn’t you realise? Meals are included with your passage. You may eat as much as you like!”
Lots of Christians live like that man. Not realising the unlimited provisions that are theirs in Christ, they munch on stale scraps. There’s no need to live like that! Everything we could ever want or need is included in the cost of admission-and the Saviour has already paid it for us! (From: Our Suffiency in Christ, by John MacArthur, Jr.)
I think Brother MacArthur may have waxed a bit lyrical on that last line when he said, “Everything we could ever want or need.. . “, because it leaves the door wide open for the deceitful heart of even us redeemed Christians to make demands that are totally self-centred rather than Christ-centred. Never underestimate the sinfulness of sin or the deceitfulness of our own hearts. (See Jeremiah 17:9 and I Corinthians 10:12). We have NOT been perfected by our conversion and if we say we are without sin we deceive ourselves (I John 1:8) Our sanctification toward perfection in heaven is a life-long task.
However, we must agree with what Brother MacArthur is saying, because the promises of God prove true, and He has promised us “such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:l0). I don’t know about you, but I am definitely a starter for THAT kind of blessing.
So how do we cash in? What do we have to do to inherit all these goodies? Perhaps we had better stop right here and realise that I have already asked in the same spirit as the rich young man who approached Jesus and left quickly and sadly when he found the price too high. He didn’t want to give up that which he could not keep for that which he could never lose. (See Matthew 19:16-22).
Look at our opening verses. Note that these promises, like virtually every other promise of God, have conditions attached to them. You see, our Lord and Saviour is not a big sugar-daddy in the sky just waiting to write us out blank cheques whenever we want them. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, Absolute Sovereign of the entire universe. We play by His rules or we are out of the game. Here is the One to Whom it is quite correct to say, “Your wish is my command.” But here also is the “secret” to inheriting all He has: When we take delight in the Lord, when what He wants is what we want, when my inmost delights and desires come from seeing His will accomplished in my life, in the life of others, in the society around me, THEN I am assured of receiving the desires of my heart! You see, it is clear that whatever God wants, God gets. Now we know from Scripture that His time frame is not what we would organise, but we know that no person or being or circumstance is going to thwart God’s will…. He will get, He will accomplish that which He desires. If we are totally in tune with Him, our desires will be same as His.. ..and just as He gets what He wills, so will we! Now we may not see some of these things in our life times. But they WILL come to pass and we can know the joy of having contributed to the accomplishment, the furtherance of His purposes on earth even though we may not live to see some things come to fruition. Have not most of the saints through the ages lived and laboured in exactly such hope? Do not go around praying for or proclaiming that thus-and-so will take place because you’ve been praying faithfuIly for that …you may well be setting yourself up for a faith-shattering disappointment. Which of these attitudes are we displaying for our children to emulate? Which of these are we training them to have?
This does not mean we do not plan big or expect big in this life. You bet we do: set goals and have your 5-, 10-, 20- year objectives in mind. And pray about them, that they be in the will of the Lord. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was to piously “wait upon the Lord” for several years as a young man and let career & educational opportunities slide right on by. Then Proverbs 16:9 came crashing through: “A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” See? The promise has a condition. He will direct our steps, but we must at least make some plans for moving in one direction or the other, not just SlT there. You cannot steer a car, a ship, a horse or anything until it is MOVING. Are we teaching our children to be pro-active in seeking out God’s will? Do they see us doing that?
Since my will is to do His will, when He directs my steps in a completely different direction than I had planned, I don’t get all frustrated, bitter and twisted (well, not for long, anyway!) because I know this change of direction is from the LORD! I mean this change of plans may not be the least bit convenient. It may actually cost me money, seem to have wasted time mucking about in this other area I am now leaving, and even make me look a bit inconsistent or indecisive in the eyes of my peers. Well, just call to mind the lives of people like Moses, John the Baptist, and even Christ Jesus Himself.
Years ago, when single, I was planning a trip to South America. I had saved up a nice sum and was praying that God would confirm it. I was also shopping for a car, and had decided on the size of down payment I could handle and therefore what price vehicle I could afford to look at. I found the perfect car: one owner, a little old lady who only drove it on weekends. As soon as I signed the papers it dawned on me that she wanted the full payment not just a down payment. It took all the money I’d saved, plus a withdrawal penalty fee, plus all but $20 of my next pay to buy that car. Well, God clearly confirmed that I WAS to have that car, but that I definitely WAS NOT to go to South America. Maybe that doesn’t sound like too spiritual an experience, but I want you to know, I had total assurance and peace of heart that God had organised every detail. Recall events like these from your own life and recount them again and again to your children.
This is how we are to train up our children, in the fear of the Lord. Note how our other verse above promises fulfillment of desires to those who fear Him. We do what He says not because we are afmid, but because we don’t want to do anything else! I’ve lived long enough now to know that when I obey the Lord I am the one who gets blessed, not the Lord. I am not doing Him a favour. No, No! He is doing me the favour by graciously allowing me to know His will in His statutes, ordinances, commandments and precepts. As parents it is our duty to FORCE our children to do what is right …to so train them in consistent obedience to God and His word that they take delight in it AND KNOW NO OTHER LIFESTYLE. By this we will set them up for a life of true blessedness to themselves and true blessing to others.
From Keystone Magazine
July 1996 , Vol. II No. 4
P O Box 9064
Phone: (06) 357-4399
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