Delighting yourself in the Lord

I’ve been learning about a profound inner healing tool as part of Sozo training from Bethel called the “Father Ladder”. One of the basic ideas is that our relationship to the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit often mirror our childhood relationships with our earthly dad (Father), siblings and friends (Jesus), and mom (Holy Spirit). Those trained and experienced in using this tool can often discern the nature of our relationship with the trinity based on our childhood experiences or vice versa. One or more of those relationships is usually weaker than the others. What is revealed is how we often have an image of God which is faulty. In the trinity, the Father cares for the body and provides identity (including your sexual identity), provision, and protection.

I come from a long line of stoics. As a result, I didn’t experience my earthly dad taking an interest in the desires of my heart. I unwittingly projected my earthly experience towards God as Father and discovered that my ability to believe that God cared about the desires of my heart was lacking.

Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

The word for ‘delight’ is represented by the Hebrew word ‘anag’ (H6026), meaning ‘to be soft’, and ‘to be delicate’.

So, what does that mean?

Let me give you an example. I was part of a team doing dream interpretation a few weeks ago at a particular event. We interpreted dreams for two friends on Saturday, one that went really well, and one that was difficult for the dreamer to receive. On a particular assignment on Sunday, my friend Chris went out of his way to a particular Starbucks at an REI and whom did he encounter, but the very dreamer where we felt like things were left undone. Chris wanted to buy her a coffee and discovered that her order was unusual and definitely a special order. Chris felt like he had heard from the Father for her that there was invitation for her to “ask for her heart’s desire”. “What do you want?” Chris explained to her that just like her coffee, the Father wanted to make a special order just for her.

Part of us doesn’t believe that God is really interested in our hearts and meeting our hearts’ desires. We hear so much about “not my will, but your will be done,” but that doesn’t make room for God caring about our hearts.

If we think we have to delight ourselves in the LORD in order to get something, we’ve missed the point of this verse (Psalm 37:4). I see faith as the pivot point for releasing the desires of your heart. Why? If we are not in a posture of delighting ourselves in our relationship with God, will we recognize the goodness of the Father when it comes? Will we recognize the Father’s desire to demonstrate His love towards us? The Father wants opportunities to demonstrate His love to you, personally. Our hearts need to be soft to be able to receive love.

Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Faith is the fulcrum for the rewards of your heart being released. I believe I saw that with a friend of mine just this week.

How will we know when we’re delighting ourselves in the LORD?

In His presence is fullness of joy. One of the teachings that I heard recently was that there weren’t fruits of the spirit, but fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). We don’t get to pick just one, we get the whole bowl as part of a package deal. All the fruit of the spirit are components of love. It’s about abiding in the love of God. If I’m feeling joy, I’m also experiencing His love, peace, patience, kindness, … I get to have it all.

Eric Liddell (whose Olympic event was captured in the movie Chariots of Fire) said “God has made me to be a missionary, aye, but he has made me fast, and when I run, I feel God’s pleasure”. Today, I went for a bike ride, choosing to delight myself in God, having a conversation with Him, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin and having joy bubble up inside of me making me smile.

I think there’s a variety of expression in how we can delight ourselves in the LORD which will look different for each one of us. Some people can delight in the LORD through singing and other musical expressions. For others, it may be being outside with nature. For me, delighting myself in the LORD is something I do best being alone with God.

How can you delight yourself in the LORD and believe that he takes great interest in your heart?

Origin and Targets of Desire

I’ve been pondering this question lately, “where does desire come from?”

Obviously, the word ‘desire’ has both negative and positive connotations and my focus is on that which more noble in nature.

Why don’t we have the initiative or desire to do particular things?  These can be even seemingly good things like sending someone a letter letting them know how proud you are of them.

I wonder if it’s a combination of the overall health of our hearts (e.g. hope deferred versus a desire fulfilled), along with that which is initiated by our creative God.

Romans 11:36

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

I’ve been in a rather low place this week.  Yet God knows how to delight my heart and bring me encouragement in a way that’s personal and unique to me.  I believe that God sent a pair of robins, who have been sitting in a tree outside my office, literally looking right at me, and singing right to me for the past four days or so.  What are they singing?  I don’t know, but I do know they are a personal encouragement from God for my heart.

There are many words in Hebrew, which have been translated as ‘desire’.  The Hebrew word ‘chaphets’ (H2654) is a good example.  This word means to ‘delight in’, ‘have pleasure in’, ‘be mindful of’, ‘be attentive to’, ‘to keep’, ‘to protect, and ‘to bend down.’

Isaiah 55:11 is a good example of this Hebrew word which brings life:

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Where does desire come from?  I believe that which is for God comes from God.  That God is the source of those desires.

Did you know the word ‘Eden’ (H5731) means pleasure?  It’s a stretch for many to understand that we were created for and in a place of pleasure.  Between a sacred and holy covenant between a man and wife, new life is birthed through pleasure.  I believe somehow, that same picture applies to our personal relationship with God.

Isaiah 51:3

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Psalm 37:4 is often used to describe paradigms of desire, and yet the Hebrew root is not ‘chapats’, but rather ‘shaal’, meaning an inquiry or a petition. 

 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires [petitions] of your heart.

Yet, the word for ‘delight’ is interesting.  It is represented by the Hebrew word ‘anag’ (H6026), meaning ‘to be soft’, and ‘to be delicate’.

So how do we ‘delight’ ourselves in the Lord?  When searching for an answer, I felt prompted to look at Psalm 107.  Psalm 107 has a theme regarding giving thanks to God and recognizing his goodness.  It takes a soft and delicate heart to recognize the goodness of God and be thankful when going through difficult times.

Psalm 107:1-2:

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.

In the season I’ve been in, I’ve encountered more and more teaching focusing on the grace given through Yeshua and His righteousness (not mine), being careful not to mix-in law that can not produce life.

1 John 4 teaches that we love because He first loved us.  I am unable to love God, or love others on my own merit (law).  Perhaps when our focus is redirected to His love, the desires of our heart are satisfied (grace).

Yeshua heard the words from heaven that he was a beloved son, in whom God was well pleased.  God loves us with the same love.

John 17:23

I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

Song of Solomon 7:10

I am my beloved’s; And his desire is toward me.

You are the beloved, and God’s desire is towards you.  He wants to bring encouragement to your heart in a way, which is personal to you.

While we wait for desires to be fulfilled, I believe our assignment is to be the beloved.  Be loved.