Delight Yourself In The Lord

Delight Yourself In the Lord

For my Medieval History study my sophomore year, I had to read a lovely old book by author Jane Porter called Scottish Chiefs. Many people have not even heard of this book, and though it is full of 19th century drama, it contains many lessons in feminine virtue for teenage girls today. Perhaps some of you have seen the movie Braveheart; Scottish Chiefs focuses on the same persona that stood in the spotlight of that Mel Gibson movie: William Wallace. For those of you who have never heard of him, Wallace was a Scottish rebel who fought against the English in the Middle Ages. In the story, he devotes himself completely to the service of God and Scotland to distract himself from his grief over the death of his young wife, Marion, who was killed by English soldiers. According to Porter’s novel, Wallace swore he could never love another woman unless she was as perfect as his deceased wife had been. But Wallace is not the character I want to focus on: I take the most interest in the central female character, Helen Mar. This young woman, though portrayed in a time period centuries before our own, is an example we teenage girls can learn much from.

Helen is the daughter of a wealthy nobleman of Scotland who supports Wallace in his endeavor to throw off English rule. Stunningly beautiful, Helen is sought after by many suitors; yet an unknown knight she meets in the Scottish highlands seems to be everything she has ever dreamed of in a man. Helen thinks of him often; reviews his words to her in their few, past moments together; pines away in her anxiety at seeing him again. Anxious to find out who he is, she awaits the arrival of William Wallace and his men impatiently. When the army finally arrives, Helen realizes, to her shame and embarassment, that the knight she was giving her heart to was William Wallace himself. To Helen, this was a terrible breach of purity, modesty and reverence for the chieftain’s dead wife. She had allowed herself to have romantic intentions toward someone who would never return them.

Ashamed to the very core, Helen turns to God, pleading for forgiveness for casting her heart away; and all the more on a man who would not return her affection. After re-dedicating herself to God, Helen realizes her heart cannot be given to Wallace, so satisfies herself in God and His Word. Her heart remains pure throughout the rest of the story, as she treats Wallace as a brother. It was so easy to let her tender emotions attach themselves to Wallace’s noble character; he was certainly worthy of her admiration; but Helen chose what was better.

My point in that book review is to show you how girls’ hearts haven’t changed over the centuries. The same little fire that burned in Helen’s heart toward Wallace may have burned in yours toward someone that caught your eye. Your sensitive emotions may have warmed toward that guy. You might have done as Helen did: thought about him, analyzed every syllable of every word he said to you, or impatiently waited for your next meeting. It is natural to “like” a young man; to consider certain characteristics to be admirable; but when you begin to think of nothing else, when the thought of him clouds your mind, “admiration”has gone too far. Is the thought of him keeping you from spending time with your family? Are those thoughts causing you to manipulate situations to be near him? Are you forgetting your girlfriends and siblings while you dream? Is your time with God suffering? Are your daily decisions and choices altered by your distraction from God’s commands? All these questions should be asked when you find yourself yielding to a warmth in your heart. What is that warmth? Those are your emotions; the very ones God wants you to preserve for Him. Ask yourself those questions. Are you maintaining emotional purity?

Earlier I referred to emotional purity as a girl’s greatest struggle. I believe it really is! It is so easy to have a crush and let it go way too far – even (sometimes especially) without the object of your admiration knowing! But what to do? How in the world do we keep our hearts in place through our teenage years, protecting them carefully for God? Let’s see what Helen did:
“. . . such she would regard him, until in the realms of purity she might acknowledge the brother of her soul!”
Helen controlled her emotions. She regarded Wallace as “the brother of her soul”, as we also are called by God to regard the Christian guys we know:
“. . . treat the [young] men like brothers . . . in all purity.” 1 Tim. 4:1-2

It’s wonderful, really. No pressure to “like” anyone, just friendships “in all purity”. Yet God had more than one reason for commanding us to walk in emotional purity with our brothers. Yes, He loves and wants the best for us; but also, our God is a jealous God! He wants our hearts to be totally dedicated to Him, a fact well illustrated by Exodus 20:5-6:
“You shall not bow down to [the idols] or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children of the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
This may be a strong analogy, but are your crushes your idols? Are you serving yourself by focusing on a guy when you should be focused on God? I know I am guilty of doing that very thing. Thankfully, I know God has forgiven me of my past foolishness, and because of this, I want to warn you girls out there – don’t throw your heart away! A boy will never fulfill you emotionally the way God can; a guy can never provide the security the Lord of the universe can! Whatever your motivation for “liking”someone may be, whatever the deepest desire of your heart is, God can take care of it. But He asks something of you before he does:
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.” Ps. 37:4-5
Can you delight in Him? I would suggest that, if you haven’t already, you “commit your way to the Lord”. Even if you are already a Christian, it is necessary that everything you have – heart, soul, mind, and strength – be dedicated to God.
It can be hard. God created our hearts to want to love. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if that love were God’s completely, until, if He wills it, we meet our future mate? Of course, life isn’t about getting married; it isn’t about dating or courting or love or romance; it’s about our walk with God, which has eternal consequences. We can’t be distracted from our ultimate purpose here: to glorify the Author of Life, and shine His light into this dark world.
“To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Rom.8:6
This message may be a hard pill to swallow. It sure was for me. It took years for me to finally let God break my habit of hopping from one crush to the next. Fixing our minds on Him will give us security, fulfillment, peace – everything He promises in His Word. How much more lasting, wonderful, and beautiful are those things than the momentary emotional fling we get from giving our hearts away! Our hearts can be scarred, broken, or crushed if we toss them around in a romantic game of Hot Potato, but the most lovely thing about giving our hearts away to Jesus is that He will never fail us!

“Now flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Tim 2:22



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