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Devotions for the Man in the Mirror
by Patrick Morley

28. Expectations: Surrendering to Scripture

Be careful what you ask for.  You just might get it. It is good advice that all of us have heard, but sometimes it still takes us by surprise--after the fact! We dedicate ourselves to pursue something that we think will be great and wonderful. When we actually achieve the objective, though, we find it is less than what we hoped for. It isn't fulfilling. It might even be a problem.

In this devotion, Morley talks about some of the unexpected consequences of believing God's word. The Psalmist sings praise to God in Psalm 37:4 and tells us, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." It sounds simple enough, right? All we have to do is say, "Lord, I am delighted in you. Now gimme what I want." Isn't that what it says? Well, maybe not.

Morley relates his own journey, beginning as a young believer who naively applied this verse to his selfish, human desires.  He was "delighted" in the Lord, so he moved to stage two and let the Lord know about his desires. His expectations were not met, though. Over and over again he did not receive the objects of his desire. As time went on, his application of the scripture only led him to experience disappointment and doubt. Where was God? Why wasn't God fulfilling his side of the deal?

It took time, but eventually Morley came to understand that the key to the Psalmist's promise is found in the first part of the verse, "Delight yourself in the Lord." The desires of his heart were tied to the things that delighted him. When he truly learned to delight himself in the Lord, he found out that the desires of his heart changed.  His desires became aligned with his new delight.  When the Lord's desires were satisfied, Morley received his desires, too.

The language of the Psalmist is so simple when you understand it. When the Lord is our delight, our desire is the Lord himself.  Christ gave himself unselfishly for us so that he could rise again to conquer sin and death.  The Holy Spirit unselfishly fills us so that we can live in God's grace every moment of the day.  What greater desire could we have?  What greater delight could there be?

If our delight is in the Lord, the desires of our hearts will be filled.  God will not withhold himself from us.  If our delight is somewhere else, our desires won't be aligned with God's, and God won't give them to us. If our delight is money, our desires will be for money. Money is useless unless it is used, though, and soon it is gone. If our delight is a new house, our desire will be for a new house. When we get that house, though, it doesn't fill us. We have to fill it. If our delight is in a new car, our desire will be for a new car. When we get that car, we have to fill it, too, and wash it and maintain it. Unlike God, none of these things give themselves to us, and when we obtain them, they don't fulfill us the way that God does.

What is our delight?  What drives our desires?  May we all find the truth that Morley discovered.  May we all find our delight in the Lord.

Dear Lord, I know how much I tend to be distracted by my own selfish desires. I desire money and cars and all sorts of "stuff." I let those desires define what delights me.  God, be my delight.  Drive my desires.  When your desires are filled, let me find my delight in them. Amen.

Grace and peace--

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