Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at a conference on a topic that came out of a season of personal growth that God used a few years ago to teach me more about Himself. It was not lost on me that this conference was held at the same church where I accepted Christ and started my spiritual journey. As I shared with these women, I reflected on how good God is to bring forth His fruit out of our lives when we are yielded to Him and desire to follow His ways.
As a result of this season, Psalm 37:3-7 became my life verse: “Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (NASB)
Merriam-Webster defines “delight” as having “a high degree of gratification or pleasure;” “to take great pleasure.” I once heard a definition of delight as “to sense the activity of God and take pleasure in it.”
Cultivating a heart that delights begins when we ASSESS the spiritual condition of our heart. Planting a garden is not something I can claim any expertise in, but I do know that before we plant anything we should assess the soil. In the same way, we need to prepare and tend to (cultivate) the soil of our heart just like we would prepare to plant a garden. Psalm 139:23 says “Search me O God and know my heart …” The process by which God wants to cultivate our lives is ultimately for the purpose of bearing fruit in His kingdom.
Cultivating a heart that delights occurs when we ACKNOWLEDGE God as our source of life. We need to pay attention to the growing conditions of our heart. Just like insects, disease, weeds, etc., can creep into our gardens, we should ask “what things are crowding into our lives that are preventing healthy growth?” We need to look inward and ask, “where have I been looking for affirmation, value or fulfillment.?” We can flourish when we acknowledge who God is and rely on Him alone.
Cultivating a heart that delights occurs when we ALIGN our hearts with God’s truth. My granddaughters are ages two and three. As a mom of boys, I can say without apology that these precious little girls are truly a delight! When our first granddaughter was born, the Lord impressed me to commit to praying a verse over her life and I have continued this same practice and verse for each of them:
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
The beautiful descriptive language in this passage is reflected in Psalm 1 as well. The picture of a strong tree, flourishing by streams of water with deep, secure roots is rich with meaning that we can look to for how God desires us to flourish as believers. Author Nancy Leigh Wolgemuth describes it like this: “Trees get beauty and strength from their roots which are generally unseen, hidden beneath the surface. Those roots draw sustenance and life, strength and nourishment from the water. I see that as a picture of what it means to abide in Christ, to live in Him, to put down your roots deep into the soil of his character and His heart, His ways and His Word.”
As we learn to delight in God, we will desire to pursue spiritually healthy growth. This means actively seeking ways to add nutrients of biblical truth to the root system of our lives. May we cultivate a delight for God’s Word as we develop secure roots in Him as our strength and hope. Where has God planted us for His glory?