Will God give you the desires of your heart?
Understanding a famously misunderstood Bible verse.
If you've been a Christian for a while, you may have heard another believer quote Psalm 37:4, "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart" (NIV).
Most of the time when people use this verse, they think it means God will give us whatever we desire — as long as we have enough faith. After all, isn't that what the verse says?
Let me quickly explain why that's not what this verse is all about, and how it's actual meaning is almost the complete opposite of the 'you can have anything you wish for' interpretation.
First, let's take a look at the phrase "desires of your heart". Often, people think this phrase refers to things that you really want in your life — a good job, a new car, a boyfriend or girlfriend etc.
But what if the desires of your heart are a bit weird? Say you really want a pet rhinocerous, a date with Miley Cyrus or an apple tree that produces oranges. Does this verse apply to those desires as well?
I think if you give it a moment's consideration, you'll start to realise that this verse cannot be saying that God will simply give people anything they desire, as long as they believe it enough. But if that's not what it means, then what's the verse all about?
The key is in the first part, "Take delight in the Lord". When we take delight in the Lord, we will begin to desire the same things He desires, such as:
If you are truly delighting in the Lord, these are the things that will be the desires of your heart. And God will give them to you if you ask.
Those other things like money, relationships and success might be nice ... and perhaps God may still give them to you. But they are not to be the desires of your heart. God wants something even greater for you than temporary happiness or fleeting success. He wants you to have a godly character, a loving heart and deep desires that are just like His.