April 27, 2014


Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

This is a frequently quoted Psalm, but I think it is often misunderstood, in English at least. That’s one of the biggest benefits of reading the Bible in more than one language, even if you aren’t fluent in Greek and Hebrew. The Japanese expresses the first half of this verse as, “Make the Lord your joy.” That removes a lot of wiggle room! We find our joy in lots of things, but it is only when we focus in on the Lord that things really fall into place. Sometimes things give us joy unexpectedly, but to a very interesting degree we really do choose our joys. The thing is, material joys are always transient, as are various joys of the flesh. When we choose to rejoice in the eternal, that is, God, then our joy is correspondingly long-lived. When we make the choice to rejoice in God, when it is our desire to do so, then God will always make that possible. This is a secret saints down through the centuries have learned. In the middle of persecution or even martyrdom, those who are genuinely focused on God can rest in His peace and joy. That’s a secret the devil doesn’t want us to know! As long as he can keep us chasing material things, he can deprive us of the peace and joy that God intends for us. Human will is an amazing thing. It’s got to be one of the most valuable things in the universe, because if we didn’t have free will, there would be no accountability for sin, and Christ would not have had to die to atone for it. It is amazingly powerful, as hypnosis can demonstrate. Someone under hypnosis can be told they are going to be touched with a red-hot iron bar, and when they are touched with something cold instead, they still get a bad burn that requires medical treatment. When you think about it, that’s scary! However, it illustrates the truth that we create the majority of our own misery, simply by failing to make God our joy.

I was quite proficient in hypnosis in high school and college, but thankfully I drifted away from it even before I got right spiritually, to understand that I wasn’t to play with something Christ died for: human will. I had a “parlor trick” I could do involving self-hypnosis, pushing a needle into my arm while blocking all pain simply by my mind. God has far better things for us to do with our wills! I am far from complete in my focus on God even at this point, but it’s certainly sharper than it was. However, the devil is constantly waving distractions in front of my face, trying to get me to seek my joy in other things than the kingdom of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) When I keep my focus on God, there is no limit to Him and so no limit to my peace and joy.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Busyness and exhaustion can be real distractions! Thank You for all that You have planned for today. Help me delight in You even before I see your blessings with my physical eyes. I do ask Your protection and blessing for the YWAM team as they move on this afternoon. May their remaining hours here and their remaining days on this trip be all that You desire and intend, for their blessing and for the sake of the Body of Christ, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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