Where do you find your greatest delight?
That’s the challenging question Mike asked us yesterday. Is it in your possessions – your craftsman-built home, your European car, your designer clothes or expensive jewellery?
Let’s be honest, those things can be pleasurable to own. They bring us delight, in no small part because they are often beautifully designed and made to a higher quality than cheap imports.
You might have simpler tastes – or less money though. You might find your delight in your swag and your unstoppable 4WD. It matters not what our tastes are, nor how far our bank balance will take us. We can find delight in all sorts of things.
But we need to be careful where we find our greatest delight, because all these things can also aid in our spiritual downfall by distracting us from more important things.
Mike took us to Psalm 37 on Sunday, a Psalm which is probably best known for verse 4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
This verse is famously used by the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ preachers to urge you to ‘name it and claim it.’ They would tell you, “See, it’s says it right there in black and white. If you just delight yourself in the Lord, he will give you that Ferrari or those Jimmy Choos. And by the way, if you just ring this number with your donation, the Lord will make sure He blesses you with them.”
But what happens when you don’t receive what you hoped for? Is it because you didn’t delight enough? Or maybe you don’t have the requisite level of faith? Maybe you didn’t give enough? There are endless excuses.
Need I tell you that these preachers misuse and abuse the Scriptures when they do that?
As Mike showed us, delighting in the Lord is something entirely different. We delight in the Lord for His sake, not for what we can get from Him. We delight because He is worthy, He is wonderful, He is delightful.
And when we choose to delight in Him and Him alone, that delight shapes our whole outlook on life. Finding delight in Him can change our attitude in a heartbeat.
Mike shared a brilliant illustration of this. Imagine that Barry is taking his young son Daryl out to the shops in the car (names have been changed to protect the guilty).
But the boom gates have come down at the Berwick train crossing. If you’ve been there, you already sense Barry’s frustration.
After a few minutes, the train finally goes through. But the boom gates stay down, as another train, and then another train go through. 10 minutes Barry has been stuck here! His blood is boiling.
But what is Daryl doing in his child-seat in the back? His eyes are wide with excitement. Being stuck here is the best thing ever! For Daryl, like pretty much every little boy, loves trains.
Doesn’t matter whether Daryl was upset and crying moments before. When he sees that train, his face lights up, and every ounce of sadness or anger disappears in a moment.
And Barry, good dad that he is, sees his son’s delight, and his heart melts. The frustration of being stuck at the train crossing becomes a moment – even 10 minutes – of enormous delight for him too.
How we miss true delight when we focus on the wrong things. The goodies that we enjoy are not necessarily bad, but they can take our attention away from what should be most delightful to us – or should I say, Who should be most delightful to us.
And our bad moods drag our attention away from Him too. Turn your thoughts back to Him; back to His mercy towards you, His grace, your salvation. Think of what He has done for you, and what He has already given you.
Think of what lies in store for you. And “your frown will be turned upside-down.” And when you do that – when you begin to delight again in Him – His desires will become your desires. And in this way, He really will give you the desires of your heart.