Nancy Guthrie on How God Gives Christians the Desires of Their Hearts

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Nancy Guthrie examines this text and provides insight on how Christians ought to pursue God’s will for their lives.


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When we come to Christ, I think that we expect that God is going to change how we think and that being joined to Christ is going to change how we behave. I think we don’t always anticipate that being joined to Christ is going to change how we feel and even what we want. One passage that helps me make sense of this is a very familiar passage, Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires,” or “the desires of your heart.”

How often we hear this verse used to basically say something like, “Get close to God, and that’s when you can expect that he is going to fill your desires. That’s when you’re going to get what you really want.”

I don’t think that’s what this verse means at all. I think it means that as we delight ourselves in the Lord, and by that, we enjoy him, we abide in him, we listen to him speaking through his Word, and we talk to him in prayer. We share a life in him because we delight in him. Then the result of that process is that he gives us desires for our hearts.

It’s not that he gives us what we desire; he actually gives us new desires so that we find ourselves wanting more of him.

It’s not that he gives us what we desire; he actually gives us new desires so that we find ourselves wanting more of him.

We find ourselves actually wanting to be holy. We find ourselves wanting to give ourselves in the world to the passions of his heart, because he’s given us his very own desires.