Delight in the Lord

Posted on July 15, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Years ago our daughter was visiting us during her college Christmas break. We were impressed with her evident maturity and growth in her walk with the Lord since we had last been together. Reflecting on something that grew out of her discipleship group, she asked me one day, “Daddy, do you have a life verse for the new year?”

I was not sure what she meant. I replied that I had several “life verses”–those key passages that serve to guide and provide foundational life values. Proverbs 3:5-6 and Matthew 6:33 were a couple of these. ”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

She went on to explain that God knows what is going to transpire in our life in the coming year, the challenges we are going to face and decisions we will be making. “Isn’t it neat to ask Him to give us a verse that will prepare us for all we are going to encounter,” she went on to explain, “and anchor our faith in a unique way that is relevant for the next 12 months.”

After thinking for a moment, I replied, “I think God may be impressing me with Psalm 37:4 as a verse for the new year. It has become etched in my mind in recent days.” I went on to quote this familiar nugget of truth; “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Lori wasn’t satisfied to drop the subject with that response. She asked, “So what are the desires of your heart?” (It is a bit unnerving when your adult children begin to instruct you!) I started to reply piously that my desire was to see the nations of Southeast Asia reached, to be more effective in my witness and be a spiritually-sensitive leader. But kids have a way of forcing parents to dispense with the rhetoric and be real.

I acknowledged that the desires of my heart were actually pretty selfish–to lose weight, to have a little more margin in my schedule, not having to deal with pettiness in missionary personnel problems. That discussion caused me to continue to contemplate the question throughout the following year; what were the desires of my heart? What did it mean to “delight in the Lord?”

What I discovered was the fact that the more I delighted in the Lord, other desires became trivial and insignificant. As I spent time in prayer and feeding on God’s Word, the joy of His presence superseded other concerns. This verse is not a verbal fetish that tells us how all our desires can be met. To the contrary, when we delight in the Lord, He is all we desire! And He meets our desire by giving us more and more of Himself.  Anything else we could possibly desire pales in comparison to knowing Him in all His fullness.

2 Comments on “Delight in the Lord”

  1. Karen Bennet

    Dr. Rankin,

    This touched my heart. I have been dwelling on the topic of what are the desires of my heart?? It has been interesting journey to think about what I truly desire and what are God’s desires.

    It was great to see you in my front yard in Bangkok.


  2. Jerry Rankin

    Glad this resonated with you, Karen. Delighted to see you in Bangkok. I pray that God will truly be the delight of your heart as you continue to serve Him faithfully.

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