Despite the fact that Jesus came so that we could live an abundant life, many Christians are living under the oppression of dissatisfaction.
This is a world full of people searching and striving to get their desires satisfied. When you see someone else—particularly someone you consider wicked and unworthy—prospering while you remain caught in the struggle, it’s enough to make you want to rise up in righteous indignation and scream, “This isn’t fair!”
But all your indignation won’t get you one step closer to getting the desires of your heart met. In fact, it will keep them out of your reach.
Fortunately, God’s holy written word provides you with dos and don’ts to be more content with yourself and your life.
David created an instruction manual for you and for me when he wrote Psalm 37:1-8. It begins:
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
I always found fret to be a funny word. It means to worry, or be kindled with anger or jealousy. Why would David warn us against this?
Perhaps because he knew how inclined we were to do it. It’s a warning for those times that we will be tempted to worry.
for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
He goes on to tell us WHY we are not to worry: Because just like grass cannot avoid the mower, the wicked cannot escape God’s judgment. Their destruction will be swift and sudden.
David then makes a quick pivot from the don’ts toward the dos of satisfied living:
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
I used to be really bad like this. If someone hurt me or angered me, I’d run the offense over and over again in my mind. There were times I would waste DAYS of my life focused on the evil. But now I decide that I am going turn from that. And I’m going to go do something productive.
Can you choose instead to focus on how faithful He has been? Can you opt to go about doing something beneficial?
The next “do” comes in verse four:
Take delight in the Lord,
Have you ever been delighted with someone and you just can’t stop thinking about them? That same zeal and excitement should be directed to God. Your instruction here is to enjoy Him for who He is.
Then David goes on to tell us what we will get in exchange (God is the God of the great exchange—He will always give more than he takes):
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Those are the boldest nine words I have ever heard—I almost can’t take it all in.
Is it saying that God will give me whatever I want if I will just enjoy him and stay pliable in his hands? Yes and no. This verse is not referring to desires of the flesh, but desires of the renewed, sanctified soul.
Then come more dos:
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
I assure you, there will be justice. You don’t have to fight your way, trying to prove them all wrong. You can sit back and know that in God’s timing, you will shine.
Verse 7 comes with another do:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
To be still means to rest quietly. There’s a lot of chaos in our world. Silence gives you ears to hear. A silent tongue not only shows a wise head, but a holy heart.
Time is nothing to God; let it be nothing to you. God is worth waiting for. Leave the matter to him—including the outcome—and do it without anxiety.
How well do you wait?
We get one more don’t before the end, and it’s doozy, one I need to be reminded of quite often:
Do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.
I wish I could say that I don’t struggle with this, but I do. I get angry when wrong is being done and the wrong-doer seems to be getting away with it. But my anger, and your anger only leads to more evil.
If you don’t want to end up caught in the same trap as the wicked, choose the path to righteousness. Don’t fret, don’t be envious, don’t be angry—it only makes you just like them.
You may not be able to see the big picture, but God can. He knows what He’s doing.
Choose to trust Him, do good, and wait patiently for Him to act. He will lead you to satisfaction and give you the desires of your heart.