Alexander MacLaren’s brief yet dense exposition of Psalm 37:4, 5, 7 offers the following sequence – delighting in God, trusting Him, giving him everything (Expositions of Holy Scripture, Maclaren).
This is the pattern that leads to a life of tranquility, of strength in the inner man. Tranquility refers not to the torrent of circumstances that charge the gates of our contentment daily, but rather the state in which we find our souls in such moments – quiet, assured, unmoved. But we can only embark on this journey provided we first delight in God as our supreme treasure. And we will not delight in Him unless we see him as He is. And we will not see Him unless we seek to find Him.
Delight prompts wholehearted commitment. Even under the weight of duty and obligation, no one surrenders their entire self. An inner rebellion still rises to an understated, muted disobedience. The soldier may indeed fight for the king he loathes, but apart from the desire for self-preservation in battle, he grips his sword with a lifeless indifference.
But, that which causes our hearts to soar and blows the breath of life deep into our chests to set us on the heights – that which we enjoy – we delight in. And, in moments of turmoil and treachery, we return to our joys in hopes that they might rectify an impending disaster. We return to our joys because we feel secure, sheltered, and safe there. Treasures lend us security in times of insecurity. But, they rarely bear the weight of tribulation. If they do, the clock ticks. When they collapse, our reactions magnify our insecurities. And none of us realize the depth and seriousness of our insecurities until we confront our reactions and inquire into their origins. We do not know who we are apart from what we love.
To the one that we trust, everything belongs. We hand over the preciousness of our time and our sincerest efforts. No secrets are withheld from the dearest friend. The body is given over to the husband or wife. And we give such valuable gifts and possessions over to those we trust because we delight in them. Truly, nothing that we have ever belonged to us. Nothing we possess was ever truly ours. We have received everything, so we can give it again. We have the supreme treasure – Jesus Christ himself, and so, while we do not throw off all other gifts and pleasures, we rather embrace them all the more because we find our true contentment, security, and all that we need in Him.
“Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead” (Mere Christianity, Lewis). Spring cleaning creates new space in the home. Heart purifying creates new space for Christ to rule in our hearts as our supreme joy and desire. Do it and you will delight in him. Delight in him and you will trust him. Trust him and you will cede everything over to him. Give it up and you will live a big life characterized by a tranquil spirit.