“He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4 NIV
Your capacity to desire certain things is a gift from God; it’s a powerful motivator. Picture two kids taking swimming lessons. One does it because he watched the Olympic Games and wants to win a gold medal when he grows up. The other takes lessons because his dad said he had to. Which kid do you think is likely to make the Olympics? In Genesis we read: “Jacob served seven [more] years to get Rachel; they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her” (Ge 29:20 NIV). What kind of person would see seven years’ hard work as a mere few days? Someone working toward his or her dream! Jesus told the story of a man with a “got-to-have-it” desire. When he discovered treasure buried in a field, he “went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Mt 13:44 NIV). Similarly, the people who listened to Jesus were so drawn to His peace, courage, and wisdom that they thought, “I must have what He has”. Do our desires sometimes lead us astray? For sure! In order to be able to trust them, you must do two things: (1) Desire a relationship with God above all else. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (2) Make sure your desires are in harmony with His will. “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and your law is within my heart” (Ps 40:8 NKJV). When you center your life around God and His Word, you can trust “the desires of your heart.” And God will give them to you!
“Serve the Lord with gladness.” Ps 100:2 NKJV
To grow in your relationship with God, you must move from the “should” to the “want to” category. The most basic assessment we have for any experience or event is what psychologist Jonathan Haidt calls our “like-o-meter.” Your like-o-meter was running the day you were born. For example, taste receptors in babies are pretty well developed, so their like-o-meter usually involves what goes into their mouths: “I like it—gotta have more,” or “I hate it—get it out of here.” As you continue to grow, everything in life registers on your like-o-meter without your even having to think about it. Every sound you hear, every conversation you’re part of, every bite you eat, rates positively or negatively on your scale. And people also register on your like-o-meter. During the briefest conversations you’ll find yourself drawn toward certain people. Something within you says, “I like this person. I’m enjoying this conversation.” it’s always going on. So, here’s a question to consider: Do you like God? That may sound like a strange question, but if you don’t like spending time with Him, you won’t do it. And you need to be honest about it, because you can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes. In Scripture the Christian life is compared to a twenty-six-mile marathon. At mile marker twenty-three it doesn’t matter whether you think you should finish, you’ll only do it because you want to. In other words, your “want-to” keeps you going when your “should” finds it easier to quit. The Psalmist said, “Serve the Lord with gladness” because nothing else will enable you to go the distance.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” Ps 34:8 NKJV
When the Bible tells you what you ought to do, you can take it in two different ways: the ought of obligation or the ought of opportunity. The first kind refers to your duty. You ought to pay your taxes, you ought to keep your dog on a leash, you ought to take your driver’s test. The second kind gives you life. You ought to take a break, you ought to see the world, you ought to taste this cake. The “oughts” of Jesus’ message are mainly the oughts of opportunity. And as you become more aware of this, you may start feeling guilty because your desire for God doesn’t run deep enough. The problem is, you can’t make yourself desire God more by simply telling yourself you should. But He is so gracious and patient in wanting you to want Him, that He is willing to work with this kind of honesty. That’s why His Word says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” The word “taste” is an invitation from a confident chef. You don’t have to commit to eating the whole enchilada; just try a taste and if you don’t like it you can skip the rest. The chef is convinced if he can just get you to take that first bite, you’re going to want the whole thing. The truth is that the more you read God’s Word and pray, the more rewarding it becomes and the more you are drawn to it. Yes, it begins as a discipline. But when you stick with it, it becomes a delight.
“Take up [your] cross and follow me.” — Mk 8:34 NIV
God is a desire—creating, desire-satisfying God. Birds want to fly because God created them to do it. Dolphins want to swim because God created them with an instinct to swim. God doesn’t plant wrong desires in us. When Adam first saw Eve, he discovered he had a strong desire for her. Where did that desire come from? God. God actually delights in fulfilling your desires. Now, some of your desires get distorted by sin and need to be cleansed, purified, and retrained. This is what Jesus refers to when He says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” We must say no to desires that would keep us from living in the flow of God’s Spirit. We must always be ready to sacrifice a lesser desire for the sake of living a greater life. On the other hand, nothing makes a human being more vulnerable to temptation than a joyless life. If God removed all your desires you wouldn’t be human. A slab of cement doesn’t have to worry about weeds growing on it, but it will also never be a garden. God’s plan is that every time we experience an authentic desire—a God-implanted desire—we come to understand more deeply what a good God He is. We learn how He has wired us and what He wants us to do in life, and as a result we find ourselves loving Him more and more. That’s why the Bible says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Ps 34:8 NKJV).
Source: The Word For You Today – SupperChannel55, Orlando, FL — USA