5 Ways to Delight Yourself in the Lord

Wondering how to delight yourself in the Lord? Let’s explore the meaning of Psalm 37:4, and some ways you can “delight” more in God.

how to delight yourself in the Lord

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According to Dictionary.com, the word DELIGHT means “a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture”. And to delight in someone or something, means to “to have great pleasure” in that person or thing.

So the question is, what do you DELIGHT in?

I know I DELIGHT in a lot of things… I take great pleasure in spending time with family and friends, making arts and crafts, eating chocolate, cuddling my cats, and so forth.

But, Psalm 37:4 stops me in my tracks… it implores me to “delight yourself in the Lord”. It challenges me to ask, “What do I get the most DELIGHT from in life?” And of course, the answer is quite often that I take a lot more pleasure in other things, besides God.

Does this verse challenge you that way too? Do you want to learn how to delight yourself in the Lord? If so, you’re in the right place!

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 (ESV)

morning sunrise

What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord?

In researching this post, I looked up some synonyms for ‘delight’. And I found it so interesting that ‘contentment’ and ‘satisfaction’ are on that list. Which means, delighting yourself in the Lord isn’t just about enjoying or taking pleasure in God… it’s also about finding contentment and satisfaction in HIM (instead of in the world!).

BOOM! *mic drop*

Seriously though, Psalm 37:4 is not the only Scripture that tells us how important it is to find our joy and contentment in God. There are so many other verses that emphasize this as well…

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4 (NIV)

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13 (NLT)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Notice how Matthew 6:33 and Psalm 37:4 parallel each other… Both contain two important points: 1st) Take delight in God; and 2nd) He will give you what you need! When we’re focused on God and His purpose (taking delight in Him, joyfully pursuing His work and purpose for our lives), our “heart’s desire” will line up more and more with HIS.

So you see, the benefits of delighting in the Lord aren’t about receiving every ‘longing’ of our heart (like, you know, I want a new car, or I long for a spouse and/or children, or desire to become an entrepreneur). God certainly can and does give us good things such as these, but I don’t believe those are the kind of “desires of your heart” that David was talking about in Psalm 37:4.

So, to answer this question of “What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord?”: If we’re truly delighting ourselves in the Lord, then the desires of our hearts will align with HIS. Such as:

  • Wanting to glorify God in everything we do
  • Longing for justice to be served, rights to be wronged, etc.
  • Desiring to love our neighbors better
  • Eager to move away from sin, toward righteousness
  • Yearning for God’s will to be done in every situation
  • Seeking to be content with what we have, use our resources wisely, etc.

And of course, we know from Scripture that God will give us those good gifts, just as a parent knows what gifts to give their child…

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9-11 (NIV)

God's gift of love

5 Ways to Delight Yourself in the Lord

Okay, now that we’ve established the true meaning of Psalm 37:4… how DO you delight yourself in the Lord? I mean, how can we put this into practice in real everyday life?

So, I pondered and prayed over this question, and these are the points I arrived at. I hope they inspire you to be more intentional in delighting yourself in the Lord each day! May you take great pleasure in the Lord, and see the desires of your heart fulfilled.

1) Fall in love with His Word/His ways

Absolutely the first lesson in how to delight yourself in the Lord, is simply to delight in His Word! Kind of like how Mary (Martha and Lazarus’ sister) did in Luke chapter 10… she sat at Jesus’ feet and simply soaked up His presence and teachings.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but I could always be more like Mary—learning to step away from the distractions, and spend time soaking up God’s truth. Like Jesus said to Martha: choose what’s better!

The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

Psalm 19:7-9 (NIV)

Bible journaling example - Psalm 19

2) Cherish who God is

And likewise, once you understand who God is (through His Word, and seeing how He works in your life), you can simply delight in HIM. Take joy in how merciful, kind, creative, all-powerful, and gracious God truly is!

Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in him.

Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)

Psalm 113 - praise the Lord

3) Relish your connection with God in prayer

Yes, I know, prayer is not always easy! But, when you’re learning how to delight yourself in the Lord, what better action can you take than to lean on God in prayer?

Even when God doesn’t answer prayers in the way you expect (or He hasn’t answered at all (yet)), there is still joy and contentment to found in the simple fact that God LISTENS! He hears you, He understands, He knows, and He’s with you. So, take pleasure in that! And keep praying!

I love the LORD because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1-2 (NLT)

God's gift of forgiveness

4) Extend love and forgiveness to others

This may seem like a strange method of delighting yourself in the Lord. BUT, hear me out! Difficult as it may be sometimes to love our neighbors (and especially our enemies), when we actually do it, it can be quite a joyful experience.

Have you ever let go of a long-held grudge against someone, and experienced the joy of reconciliation? Or perhaps you stopped gritting your teeth every time that person annoys you, and instead relaxed into a habit of giving them grace? When we’re actually successful (even a little bit) at loving as Jesus does, we can delight in God’s good commands. There is a reason God wants us to love each other, because love brings peace and joy… and that’s way more delightful than hate, am I right?

And, taking a step backwards here… the same goes for accepting God’s love and mercy towards yourself as well. Delight in how patient and loving He is with you!

5) Celebrate and enjoy His blessings

As I was pondering this question of “How do I delight myself in the Lord?”, I set out to take a walk. Because, you know, appreciating God’s creation can definitely be a great way of delighting yourself in the Lord! (Can I get an AMEN?!)

And as I strolled down the sidewalk and through the front gate, something caught my eye. What’s that bright green thing on the gate post? It looked like a leaf at first, but upon further investigation, it was a little caterpillar, no bigger than one inch long! I must’ve stared at it for at least a full minute… I watched its’ tiny legs move, saw it pick up its’ head a bit, and I just thought “What a marvelous little creature this is! A seemingly insignificant, tiny speck in God’s creation, yet made with such detail!”.

bright green caterpillar  - God's marvelous creation

It’s just like the Psalmist says:

O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.

Psalm 8:1 (NLT)

So, take time to delight in the many blessings around you! Enjoy nature, appreciate the foods you enjoy (God invented the cocoa bean, what a wondrous thing!), cherish your friends and family, and so on and so forth.

At the end of the day, learning how to delight yourself in the Lord is simply a matter of getting to know Him better! When we know God more, we see His goodness, and we want to grow closer to Him. And the desires of our hearts will be fulfilled, just as Scripture says.

And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (AMP)

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