Delighting in God Transforms Our Dreams and Desires (Verse Study Series)

Delight. Each of us experiences delight when the dreams and desires of our hearts are realized. Though these desires vary depending on the person, the desires of our hearts are precious to us nonetheless. We want to see our dreams realized.

In Psalm 37:4, David writes, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (ESV).

This verse has been an encouragement to many. It encouraged me when I felt called to serve in music ministry as a newer believer, but I wasn’t sure if it was okay to use something for God that I enjoyed so much. Silly to think of my reasoning when I look back, but when more than one person shared this verse with me the day after I was asked to help more in music ministry, I was greatly encouraged.

As we delight in God, our desires will experience transformation. We will be drawn to study His truth and His Word will become more precious to us. At the same time, we all wrestle with our flesh. We still struggle with sin, and we can’t always trust our desires.

It’s important to filter our desires through God’s wisdom, counsel and will. We can’t always assume that something we want is also equal to what God wants. Because unfortunately… that’s not always true.

“We can’t always assume that something we want is also equal to what God wants. Because unfortunately… that’s not always true.”

The Desires of Our Hearts?

This verse has been used and abused, probably throughout all of history since it was first read or sung by someone other than its writer, King David. Some twist Psalm 37:4 to mean we can have anything we want or long for. But God knows best and often we ourselves do not.

Because of the Fall (when Adam and Eve committed the very first sin), every human’s desires are tainted by sin and selfishness. However, when we become Christians and begin delighting ourselves in the Lord, our desires will reflect God’s desires more and more.

Delighting in the Lord means we delight in His will: We want to honor God in every area of our lives. We seek His wisdom and direction first instead of making decisions haphazardly. We want to obey our Savior and Lord rather than do whatever we want.

We won’t care so much about fulfilling our dream, getting the latest new gadget, adding to monetary or material wealth, or even absolute perfect health. Our most precious desire will be for everything in our lives to please God. Our greatest dream and ambition will be that all we go through would be for His glory—regardless of whether it makes us happy and successful here on earth. We will delight in God and therefore we will delight in His will above our own

A Little Bit About King David the Psalmist

David, the writer of Psalm 37 and many others, was called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22, 1 Samuel 13:14). He so delighted in God that he would not go up to the cities of Judah without consulting the Lord and His timing first. Even at the news of both Saul’s and Jonathan’s deaths, which meant David was able to be king, he first sought the Lord’s direction (2 Samuel 2).

David desired to follow the Lord’s will above his own ideas and plans. In listening to the Lord, David was made king—but only of Judah and not all of Israel… not yet anyway. This was not as important to David compared to full obedience to God’s will. He was truly a man after God’s own heart as he sought to honor God in this.

From the history we have about David, we can see that his words in Psalm 37 weren’t about God giving him whatever his heart desired. Instead the emphasis begins with “delight yourself in the Lord.”

Our Desires Are Changed When We Delight in God

When we delight in the Lord, our dreams and desires will experience transformation over time. Our desire to honor and obey Him will supersede any longing of our own. The things that are precious to God’s heart will be precious to us. We will love what He loves and hate what He hates.

Here are a few examples of what delighting in the Lord might look like:

  • What God values, we will value (or at least be seeking to).
  • What God does not esteem, we will no longer esteem (or be seeking not to).
  • When we face trials, we will desire God’s will even if our comfort or desired outcome is not realized.
  • When we are in a time of waiting, we will remember that God knows best.
  • More and more, our contentment will be found in God instead of earthly things or people.
  • We will seek God’s desires as we live our daily lives and pursue any goals and dreams we have for ourselves.
  • We will seek to know God’s will as we pray for ourselves, others and the issues facing our world.

When we delight in the Lord and seek to surrender our dreams and desires to Him, we honor Him. We will begin to reflect Christ’s heart to others more and more, living out our lives in a way that gives Him glory. Like David, we will be people after God’s own heart. May we grow in the desire to honor God in every way and walk it out daily.

Check out more from the Verse Study Series.

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Delighting in God Transforms Our Dreams and Desires

9 thoughts on “Delighting in God Transforms Our Dreams and Desires (Verse Study Series)

  1. I’ve recently also written that even when what God wants for us is the same as what we want, the ways and means are as important as the end. Consider how Sarah tried to get a child the first time! Poor Hagar. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thank you Amanda for his post! I have heard this misquoted and misused more times than I can count! You did an excellent job of getting the focus in the correct place. I have meditated on this verse often in difficult times, that by delighting in God, He would put His desires in my heart; “He would give me (his) desires of my heart,” not my own.


  3. “When we are in a time of waiting, we will remember that God knows best.
    More and more, our contentment will be found in God instead of earthly things or people.”

    I needed the reminder. Thank you.


  4. I’ve always wanted to write a post about this verse, because- as you said- it’s misunderstood and abused. And I think some people hear this verse and become resentful when disaster hits home. You did such a beautiful job explaining that getting want we want isn’t about what WE want at all. It’s about wanting what GOD wants.

    Liked by 1 person

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