Read Psalm 37:1-40
The Secret of Success
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I love this verse. It’s one of my favorites. Here is the key to success in life—to fruitfulness and fulfillment in all you do. Not just to make things happen for yourself, but to actually have God working on your behalf to give you what you have set your heart to do.
But this is no automatic formula to riches, power and fame that David is talking about. In this verse itself is essential context that we must grasp and apply if we are to enter into the blessed life the psalmist goes on to describe. Furthermore, the entire chapter of Psalm 37 provided valuable insight that further explains verse 4. You and I would do well to read and absorb this whole psalm in context.
So let me give you a heads up on some of David’s caveats to the success he promises:
First, you’ve got to put God first and make him foremost in your life. Another way of putting it is that God must be both the center and circumference of your existence. I think that’s what David had in mind when he said, “Delight yourself in the Lord.”
God will not grant you willi nilli any old desire—that would be irresponsible of God and dangerous for you. But when you delight in God above all else, that in itself will shape the desires that arise in your heart and guard you from foolish, selfish, sinful and harmful wishes.
Second, you’ve got to delay gratification and practice patience. You will find in the rest of this psalm that over and over again David speaks of not getting in a rush to see the plan of God unfold in your life, and not getting caught up in the false success of those who are far from God. In due time, God will bring about his promised blessings. Here is how David sees it in verse 7:
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
And third, you must refuse to cut corners and commit to a consistent walk of uprightness before God. If your life is characterized by incongruent living—saying one thing but doing another—don’t expect God’s deep and abiding favor. Though much of this psalm is dedicated to this truth, notice in particular how David puts it in verses 18, 34 and 37:
The days of the blameless are known to the LORD,
and their inheritance will endure forever…
Wait for the LORD and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are cut off, you will see it….
Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
there is a future for the man of peace.
God wants to grant you success. And success as he defines it is far greater, longer lasting, and more satisfying that what the world offers. So delight yourself in the Lord, and you will find that the Lord delights himself in you!
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”