Understanding your Desires

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