We live in a culture of narcissism. People believe they have the right to jobs, education, healthcare, and the American dream. Our churches teach less about honoring our Creator than about success and happiness; preachers build large congregations through messages that elevate self and build esteem. Worship has been redefined as entertainment and the idea of having a relationship with the living God has been boiled down to 60 minutes a week of a self-glorified adrenaline rush.
There is a verse in the Old Testament book of Psalms that states, “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart,” (Psalm 37:4) that has been used by preachers to teach that God desires to bless you with whatever your deepest desires may be. Do you want riches? God will give them to you. Do you want a new BMW, fancy home, or fully funded retirement account? Here’s the formula—delight yourself in God and they will soon be yours.
Though I am no theologian, most mature believers would disagree with such prosperity theology, yet, when faced with dire situations, many of us may accept similar formulas that promise to solve our problems. When we shrink the omniscient, sovereign Creator down to a formula to fill our lusts, we are traversing dangerous territory.
While Psalm 37 may have something to do with God providing what we want, it has more to do with Him giving us a hunger for what we really need. “Delight yourself in the Lord,” stems from a Hebrew phrase that implies making an intimate habit of the enjoyment in a relationship. We are to have a delicate awe of our heavenly Father that will result in us sharing His heart, His dreams, and His desires. When we walk in intimacy with Jehovah, He will give us the desires of His heart that will become the desires of our heart. We will yearn for justice, cry for those hurting, work to serve others, and become a healing balm, not out of law, guilt, or shame but out of a God-placed drive uniquely chosen for us to glorify Him.
No one brings glory to God by gathering possessions; nor does one please Him through achieving goals and conquering foes. I know that He may call us to seasons of life that look different at various times but true victory of a life well-lived flows through surrender and death. Victory is found only at the cross.