On a recent trip to Banff, AB I looked on in wonder, delighting in the beauty of God’s creation. Seeing such a majestic work of God’s hand enabled me to rest in his grace and mercy, forgetting, for just a moment, all of the cares of life. Recalling this image takes me back to that place of delighting in God, being still in the presence of his majesty, my heart desiring Him alone.
For a Christian, talking about desires is a tricky thing. Is it okay to have desires? What about desires that don’t seem to have anything to do with God? I wish I could say that I have all of the answers, but unfortunately, I don’t. I do however have three questions to ask yourself regarding your desires. Lets first consider the following verse:
Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. (NKJV)
The problem with this verse is that the first half often goes unnoticed. This topic was brought to my attention recently and really got me thinking. What happens when we truly delight ourselves in the Lord? I really like to look at definitions of words to better explore the meaning behind it. For example, Miriam Webster defines delight as a strong feeling of happiness: great pleasure or satisfaction. What this looks like to me is taking great pleasure and being truly satisfied in God, free from all the things the world might use to distract me. It is when I am in this place that the Lord can meet and reveal my hearts desires. I read something interesting on Living by Faith Blog that said, “when we delight in the Lord what we desire is the Lord.” When I am delighting in The Lord I desire Him and all that He has planned for me, not my own selfish desires.
Here are three questions Christians should ask themselves regarding their desires
When you are delighting in the Lord do you still desire it?
This is an interesting question and one that I feel is a true test of our desires. There have even been times in my life, and maybe you can relate, that I have tried to avoid God because I knew what His answer would be. Do you find yourself trying to get approval from everybody else before going to God because you know what He will say? And I’m not talking about a quick prayer; I’m talking about delighting and resting in the Lord with all of your attention on Him and Him alone. This is where I discover all of the beauty He has for me. Sadly, my heart can so easily deceive me (Jeremiah 17:9) and can only be trusted as I delight in the Lord and allow His heart to take over. I have seen my desires totally change in these moments, things I wanted so badly disappearing in God’s presence. Truly delight in God, and while you are there ask yourself what your heart desires. I often find that some things I once desired vanish when my heart is fixed on God, rather than on myself.
Does it seek to glorify God?
Obviously, one of the most important things about our desires is whether or not they honor God. If it goes against the Bible then it clearly isn’t anything worth desiring. Additionally, if its all about you, your own success, gaining recognition, proving your worth, etc, you might want to rethink it, or at least your motivation behind it. We are capable of perverting God’s plans and making them all about us. As Christians we are called to do everything to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:13) Glory is defined as bringing public praise, honor, and distinction to someone. Do my desires place importance on publicly praising and honoring God or myself? My hearts desire should be to bring glory to God and should be evident in all I do. As I delight in Him my heart is transformed, reflecting the things He desires that bring Him glory.
Does it Require God’s Strength or could you do it without him?
When I am delighting myself in the Lord He gives me desires that require His strength to accomplish. In that moment, I feel beyond capable of accomplishing what He has placed in my heart! Sadly I am incapable of delighting in the Lord every moment of every day. Oh how I wish I could! When my focus starts to shift to other things, my abilities, my selfishness, my own plans, I start to doubt and question the desires God placed in my heart while I was delighting in Him. I start to wonder if I can even do it or if I even desire it at all! When this doubt creeps in I have two options. I can give up and focus on other things, things that I can do just fine in my own strength, depending on my own abilities, or, I can choose to get to a quiet place and delight myself in my God and Father, the one who is strong in my weakness, the one who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think according to His great power working in me (Ephesians 3:20). It is in this place of delighting in and taking great pleasure in my God that my strength is renewed and I no longer doubt. This is a continual process as we are constantly distracted by so many things that fight to steal our attention away from the things of God. If my desires require dependence on myself, rather than dependence on God and his strength I might need to rethink them..
What other questions might Christians ask themselves regarding their desires? I would love you to see your thoughts!