How to Actually Delight in the Lord

Delight in God

Defining Delight

Delight is “that which gives great pleasure, satisfaction or joy.”

As a beautiful landscape delights the eyes; harmony delights the ear; the good conduct of children, delights their parents. ~Webster 1828

When something delights us, we tend to protect our time so that we can have more quality time with the person or object of our delight.

How to Delight in the Lord

Let us look at David as our scriptural example. Here is what David says in Psalms:

  • But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. (1:2)
  • Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desire of your heart. (37:4)
  • I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart. (40:8)
  • Great are the works of the Lord; they are studied by all who delight in them. (111:2)
  • Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. (112:1)
  • I shall delight in Thy statutes; I shall not forget Thy word. (119:16)
  • Thy testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors. (119:24)
  • Make me walk in the path of Thy commandments, for I delight in it. (119:35)
  • And I shall delight in Thy commandments, which I love. (119:47)
  • I long for Thy salvation, O Lord, and Thy law is my delight. (119:174)

David delighted himself in the Lord by delighting in His Word.

Opposite of Delight

Sometimes it helps to look at the opposite side of something we are trying to understand. The opposite of delight is displeasure or disapproval. This is what God says He disapproves of in Proverbs:

  • For the crooked man is an abomination to the Lord; but He is intimate with the upright. (3:32)
  • A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. (11:1)
  • The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, but the blameless in their walk are His delight. (11:20)
  • Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are His delight. (12:22)
  • The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. (15:8)
  • Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished. (16:5)
  • He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. (17:15)
  • Differing weights and differing measures, both of them are abominable to the Lord. (20:10)

We want to avoid being crooked, false, perverse, proud, justifying the wicked, condemning the righteous, and walking in differing weights or measures.

What Do You Delight In?

“The word ‘delight’ means to take great pleasure in. It has the idea of a consuming passion that controls your life. Everyone ‘delights’ in something. Some people delight in food. Others delight in a job or a hobby or a career. Some delight in a particular friendship.”

“Many people delight in money or the things money can buy. And many delight in evil pleasures and wrong desires. Mark this well. Your ‘delight’ determines your direction.” ~Pritchard [PA]

“Many delight in wealth, status, material possessions, and other temporary things of this world, but they are never satisfied. They never truly get what they want, hence the reason they are always wanting more. On the other hand, delighting in the Lord is true treasure indeed: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6).” [GQ]

Delight in God’s Way

“Delight in Him in Whom ‘are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3), we find that Jesus is enough!” [PA]

“This world can never satisfy our deepest longings, but if we choose to delight in God’s way, He will always provide above and beyond our expectations. Jesus said, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).” [PA]

“Consider the context. Psalm 37 is telling us not to worry or be envious of the wicked. Our focus is not to be on what they have, nor on what they seem to be getting away with (Ps. 37:12-13).  Instead, we are commanded to trust and delight in the Lord (Ps. 37:3-4).” [PA]

When our delight is in the love of God, our desires will be in the will of God. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, we will want the things that delight Him. ~Warren B. Wiersbe

Foundational Truths

“This psalm shares the wisdom of an old man who had walked with the Lord. David had battled with evil men and knew the frustration of seeing the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. As he reviewed the past, he gave some wise counsel to keep us from fretting against the Lord when things are not going the way we want them to go.”

“‘Delight in the Lord.’ Find all your joy and pleasure in His will. Make Him your delight, and your desires will be in His will. Living to please the Lord sets you free from fretting about what men are doing.” [NQR 331]

“The word translated ‘delight’ comes from a root that means ‘to be brought up in luxury, to be pampered.’ It speaks of the abundance of the blessings we have in the Lord Himself, totally apart from what He gives us. To enjoy the blessings and ignore the Blesser is to practice idolatry.”

“In Jesus Christ, we have all God’s treasures, and we need no other. If we truly delight in the Lord, then the chief desire of our heart will be to know Him better so we can delight in Him even more, and the Lord will satisfy that desire! This is not a promise for people who want ‘things,’ but for those who want more of God in their lives.” [WBC 919]

Rituals or Relationship?

“The key to peace, then, is the focus of our desire. What is it that delights us? Unbridled and varying wishes are the worst enemy of a state of [rest]. They destroy our tranquility [calm] by putting us at the mercy of the externals.”

“And whatever is necessary for our contentment…it is that thing that we have made lord of our life. When we desire the earthly and the external, we give these perishable things supreme power over us, and allow them to become intertwined with our spirit.” [Swindoll]

The great reason why life is troubled and restless lies not without, but within. It is not our changing circumstances, but our unregulated desires, that rob us of peace. ~Alexander Maclaren

“Religious rituals become burdensome when they represent requirements to be met in order to win God’s favor. They become delightful when they serve as opportunities to know and enjoy a relationship with God more fully. Only when one seeks God as an end and not as a means to an end may the full measure of covenant blessings be enjoyed.” [Briley]

C.H. Spurgeon elaborates, “Ungodly persons and mere professors never look upon religion [or a relationship with God] as a joyful thing; to them it is service, duty, or necessity, but never pleasure or delight.”

“Those who love God…discover in Christ such joy, such overflowing delight, such blessedness that far from serving Him from custom, they would follow Him even though the whole world rejected Him.”

Spurgeon continues, “We do not fear God because of any compulsion; our faith is no shackle, our profession is no bondage, we are not dragged to holiness, nor drive to duty. No, our piety is our pleasure, our hope is our happiness, our duty is our delight.”

What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and live to God, to please Him and to be pleased in Him. ~Matthew Henry

“David says, those who ‘delight in the Lord’ first, shall be blessed. Those who reach for the purest and highest form of religious emotion and cry, ‘Whom have I on earth beside You?’ instantly find the cure for all feverish unrest from unfulfilled desires. The Lord’s peace fills the soul that delights in Him, and its hunger is blessed with instant satisfaction.” [Swindoll]

What Delights God?

There are nine things which delight God’s heart:

  • God delights in those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness. (Psalm 147:10-11)
  • God daily delights in wisdom. (Proverbs 8:30-31)
  • God delights in a just weight. (Proverbs 11:1)
  • God delights in the blameless and their walk. (Proverbs 11:20)
  • God delights in those who deal faithfully (with their lips). (Proverbs 12:22)
  • God delights in the prayer of the upright. (Proverbs 15:8)
  • God delights in the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:3)
  • God delights in loyalty. (Hosea 6:6)
  • God delights in unchanging love. (Micah 7:18)

How to Delight Ourselves in the Lord

Emma Danzey states, “When we delight in the Lord, He becomes our heart’s desire, and He will give us that desire because He gives us Himself.” What a stunning and personal God we serve who loves us so much and has fully given Himself to us as our Savior. When we seek fulfillment in Christ, we will live true lives of delight.”

Rhonda Stoppe contends we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ. She asserts we can do this by doing the following “Delight in the excellencies of the Lord; delight in the Lord’s presence; delight in God’s help; delight in the Lord’s great love for us; and to delight in God’s mercy and compassion.

Kelly R. Baker summarizes it well, “The key is choosing to live a yielded life to God. As you dive into the verses that describe ways to delight yourself in the Lord, and let them become a part of your life, God will begin to transform your heart.”

A Few Thoughts

“The idea behind ‘take delight in the Lord’ is that, when we truly rejoice or ‘delight’ in the eternal things of God, our desires will begin to parallel His and we will never go unfulfilled. Delighting in the Lord is a true treasure indeed: ‘Godliness with contentment is great gain’ (1 Timothy 6:6).”

“This world can never satisfy our deepest longings, but if we choose to delight in God’s way, He will always provide above and beyond our expectations. Jesus said, ‘Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’ (John 4:14).” [GQ]

Don’t be intimidated by how others delight in the Lord. The goal is not perfection. The goal is an enhanced relationship with Jesus. ~JoDitt Williams

Prayer

Lord, we praise and exalt Your Holy Name. Because You delight in wisdom (Pr. 8:30) and the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Pr. 9:10) and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Pr. 1:7), therefore, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will increase in wisdom by walking in the fear of the Lord and increase in knowledge and understanding of You, Holy God, and I grant You permission to share Your wisdom through me with others.

Seeing that a just weight is Your delight (Pr. 11:1), walking blamelessly is Your delight Pr. 11:20), and You delight in those who deal faithfully (Pr. 12:22). Therefore, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, I will walk in just weights; by the power of Your Spirit, I will walk blamelessly before You and before men; and by the power of Your Holy Spirit, I will walk faithfully with You, Holy God, and with men.

Because the prayer of the upright is Your delight (Pr. 15:8), Holy Spirit of Truth, come and guide me into all the truth; whatever You hear, speak to me and disclose to me what is to come (John 16:13), so that God is glorified through my life (John 16:14); show me what to ask for, how to seek, and how to knock, so that You may reveal and open the windows of heaven to me (Matt. 7:7); show me what to bind on earth and what to loose on earth that Your kingdom on earth may be as Your kingdom is in heaven (Matt. 18:18, 6:10); thank you that whatever I ask in prayer in Your Name, according to Your will, it is granted (John 14:13).

You delight in loyalty (Hosea 6:6), so by the power of Your Holy Spirit, I will be loyal to You in spirit, soul and body.

You delight in unchanging love (Micah 7:18), therefore, I receive Your cleansing, Your forgiveness, Your deliverance, Your healing from events of the past; completely receiving Your unchanging love for me and believing You will extend Your unchanging love through me to Your Body and to those who do not yet know Your heart of unchanging love.

Because You delight in our land and declare that she is no longer Forsaken or Desolate, but Married to You (Is.62:4), we welcome You, O Ancient of Days, O King of Glory, O Mighty God, and You, Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, Lover of our Souls, Mighty Warrior, Righteous Judge, and You, Holy Spirit, our Comforter, Teacher, Helper and Guide.

We desire to renew our minds in Your Word, and be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, bringing glory to Your Name. Amen.

Recommendations:

Possibility is Now for You and Me https://strengthwithdignity.com/possibility-is-now-for-you-and-me/

The Most Important Book: The Bible https://strengthwithdignity.com/the-most-important-book-the-bible/

References:

Baker, Kelly R. Delight Yourself in the Lord: This Changed My Life. Published December 11, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from Delight Yourself in the Lord: This Changed My Life – Kelly R Baker

Briley, Terry. The College Press NIV Commentary – Isaiah: Volume 2.

Danzey, Emma. How Can Christians ‘Delight’ Themselves in the Lord? Published on January 26, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from What Does “Delight Yourself in the Lord” Mean in Psalm 47:4 (crosswalk.com)

Delight Yourself in the Lord. Published by Precept Austin [PA] on January 3, 2020. Retrieved January 17, 2022, from Delight Yourself in the Lord | Precept Austin

Stoppe, Rhonda. What Does it Mean to Delight Yourself in the Lord? (Psalm 37:4). Published July 14, 2019. Retrieved January 17, 2022, from Delight Yourself in the Lord – Meaning of Psalm 37:4 Explained (biblestudytools.com)

Spurgeon, C.H. Delight Yourself in the Lord. Revised and updated by Alistair Begg for Crossway, 2003. Published by Truth for Life on June 14, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from Delight Yourself in the Lord – C. H. Spurgeon Devotional from Truth For Life

Swindoll, Chuck. Three Keys to Contentment. Published on Sermon Central. Retrieved January 17, 2022, from “Three Keys To Contentment” Sermon by Charles R. Swindoll, Psalms 37:1-25 – SermonCentral.com

What Does it Mean to Delight Yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). Published by Got Questions [GQ]. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from What does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord (Psalm 37:4)? | GotQuestions.org

Wiersbe, Warren B. Nelson’s Quick Reference: Chapter-By-Chapter Bible Commentary. [NQR] Published by Thomas Nelson, 1991, page 331.

Wiersbe, Warren B. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament. [WBC] Published by David C. Cook, 2007, page 919.

Williams, JoDitt. How to Delight Yourself in the Lord – Six Keys. Original article published December 2016, How to Delight Yourself in the LORD – Six Keys – JoDitt Designs  Six Keys to Delighting in the Lord. Published December 6, 2016. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from Six Keys to Delighting In the LORD by Guest Blogger JoDitt Williams – Seeking God with Jaime Wiebel

Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member #bgbg2 #BibleGateway

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16 thoughts on “How to Actually Delight in the Lord”

  1. Lisa, I love the Warren Wiersbe quote. When we delight ourselves in God, He aligns our heart desires with His will and purposes. We receive our heart’s desires because they are His desires for our lives. May we delight in Him more and more each day!

    1. So true, Joanne, when we delight in Him, He transforms us, and our desires align with His desires. I appreciate Warren Wiersbe!

  2. It helps to remember our spiritual disciplines are not meant to be rituals or ends in themselves, but they help us get to know our God better. When we know Him as He truly is, we can’t help but delight in Him and love Him more.

  3. I remember hearing many of these verses as a child and I didn’t understand them. How could meditating on God’s laws bring delight? I saw his laws as hinderances, not as loving boundaries that if we obey will bring us joy and delight. It took me seeing God through a lens of love and getting to know him, and then yes, I could see it. Sadly, so many people do not see God as being on their side or loving them. But when we begin to grasp this truth, ah, the delight from his relationship will grow and flow.

    1. So true, Theresa! When we know His love, then we receive all of who He is because we understand it from His heart of love.

  4. Love your words here, Lisa. We can delight in so many things that take us further away from God. We can also get wrapped up in too much “doing”, for God which also moves us farther away, even stealing our delight at times. But this. “David delighted himself in the Lord by delighting in His Word.” is the key. Delighting in God’s Word, fills our hearts with delight for Him!

    1. So true, Donna! His Presence, His Word, His Holy Spirit – all these enable us to delight in Him and to experience true joy.

  5. Having a grandson reminds me of how to take delight in someone. I don’t always understand my grandson’s choices (he’s five), but I delight in him anyway. We need to do the same with God. We shouldn’t expect to understand God, but we can choose to delight in him!

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