READ: Psalm 37, Jeremiah 4-6, Matthew 9, Acts 16
Psalm 37:3-4: “Trust in the Lord…and dwell in the land. Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Christians are acquiring quite the reputation of fleeing troubled lands. In 2012 more than 200,000 Egyptian Christians departed Egypt, fearing what the future holds. If the righteous emigrate, what will the wicked do? Probably tear each other to pieces. God expects His people to do the dangerous work of trusting Him and remaining rooted in troubled contexts. Evil and instability make the gospel look good. Our primary desires are not supposed to be for a better life and a secure context–they are to be for the Lord. When we delight in Jesus, we begin to want what He wants. When we delight in Jesus, our passions begin to align with His and we discover that we no longer want what we thought we wanted. When we delight in Jesus we begin to desire what He wants to give us–namely Himself. When we desire Jesus, all other desires begin to fade for we increasingly find them distasteful and all that will fully satisfy us is more of Him.
A Desire for Blamelessness Leads to Peace (Psalm 37:37). A desire for Jesus includes a desire to be like Him–and He gives us this desire. We cease caring about what others think, and we start longing to be blameless before God. This desire to be blameless before God brings us great peace, for we no longer strive for the applause of men. Reputation becomes a dirty word to us, for it has implications that we have judges other than Jesus. When we desire to be blameless, we unexpectedly enter a world of rest where we no longer need to strive for the approval of men.
A Desire for Righteousness Leads to Strength in Troubled Times (Psalm 37:39). When we long for Jesus, we understand that fellowship with Him includes right standing with others. We cannot be intimate with Jesus when we are at fleshly odds with either friend or enemy. Jesus’ demands that we live at peace with all men as much as depends on us. God rises to the defense of those who hold no grudges. Jesus stands up in recognition of those who forgive their persecutors. The righteous still have enemies, but when those enemies attack, their bite has no killing venom. The righteous have the internal emotional strength to shake off serpents into the fire. The forgiver is always the strongest person in the company.
A Desire for Trust Leads to Deliverance (Psalm 37:40). Trust is not automatic; we do not naturally trust. We ask Jesus to help us trust Him. “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” is the constant plea of the disciple. We desire to trust, and Jesus answers that desire. When we delight in Jesus, He in turn is delighted that we are asking for trust and so He grants it, and proves His delight by delivering us. Trust is what makes the believer fearless.