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Posts Tagged ‘desire’

The wellspring of the gifts of the Spirit is the loving heart of God.  1 John 4:16 tells us that “God is love.”  He is the ultimate embodiment of perfect love.  Many of us have a difficult time wrapping our head around what perfect love might look like because of poor examples we’ve seen or experienced in life.  However, that does not diminish the reality that love exists or that it exists in a manner that is life-giving and transformative to the extreme.  Such is the love of the Lord God.

I recognize that I am a fortunate man.  I had two loving parents who modeled love extremely well.  I fondly remember long talks with my Dad as he patiently taught me life skills.  Mom was always there to sooth our fears and tears and encourage us in whatever pursuit we were engaged in.  As we grew more responsible, they gave us the necessary tools for life – shelter, food, clothing, an education, a vehicle to drive, a foundation of faith and service to others, a legacy to live up to.  I grow nostalgic as I think of how my parents strove to bless their four children realizing that my wife and I have tried, in our imperfect way, to do the same for our four children.  The point of this is that if we as imperfect, often too busy, sometimes self-absorbed, parents want to give good things to our children, how much more does our perfect, always present, attentive Heavenly Father want to give good things to us, His children.  If you have entered into the family of faith, you are His precious child.  And if you have not surrendered your life yet, I can tell you He is drawing you and offering you the penultimate relationship life has to offer – adoption into His family, a seat of honor at His banquet table.

What I have described echoes the words of our Lord recorded in Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”  God is the perfect Father and He gives His children good gifts.  This is a truth we can hold on to.  After 33 years of living for Him, I testify to the veracity of this scripture.

Even as I write this the Lord has highlighted another scripture – John 8:31-32.  “To the Jews who had believed in Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”  Jesus wants you to know that He is for you and not against you.  That He loves you with an everlasting love.  That His banner over you is love.  That you are precious to Him.  That He gave Himself for you.  And He wants to give you everything necessary to live out the life He has called you to.  A life of joyful, fulfilling, abundant, faithful service in the family of God.

I’m reminded of a sweet season of extended prayer many years ago.  We were living in Louisiana, but I was praying for my family who all lived on the east coast.  Literally I had been drawn to pray for an hour or more every day for certain things going on in the family, but specifically for my family who lived a long way away.  My wife and I were reasonably content having started a family of our own, but I had a real burden of prayer upon me.  One night as I was pacing and praying in our closet, the Lord spoke very clearly to me.  “Son, I’m going to give you the desires of your heart.”  I distinctly remember saying, “No Lord, not my will, but your will.”  To which the Holy Spirit responded, “That is why I’m going to give you the desires of your heart.”  I was humbled, thankful, and awed all at the same time.  Now I had not been trying to get back to the east coast.  I don’t think I had done anything to start the process or even look for another job, but within 9 months or so, through a series of amazing (you could even say miraculous) circumstances we found ourselves living in southeast Tennessee.  By the way, I don’t know if I had read the verses in Psalm 37:4 prior to this event, but today they stand as one of my life verses.  “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

As we pour our heart into knowing the Lord, growing in our relationship with Him, obeying His prompting, He wants to give us good gifts.  He desires us to desire the things He wants to do in us and in the lives of those around us.  Let’s go back to the verses just before Jesus talks about the Father giving good gifts to His children.  In Matthew 7:7-9 Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks the door will be opened.”  When we are His children and we are responding to His love, when our desire is to love and obey Him, He will give us good gifts.  Even before a person turns to Christ the Lord loves them and has offered the ultimate gift, His Son, Jesus, so they can enter into the family of God.  He wants us to have the gifts of the Spirit to edify us and to strengthen the Church – the body of Christ.  His love toward us and His love for the Church are the wellspring of the spiritual gifts.

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Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  What a succinct capture of the Gospel and a rich promise for God’s children.

In my work, I consult with plants and help them improve their performance.  The formula is really very simple.  When you do the right things in the right way you will get excellent performance.  I have seen this truth play out dozens and dozens of times in my career.

When I look at this verse I see the spiritual corollary.  When God becomes our focus and we immerse ourselves in knowing Him we will experience a greater and greater intimacy in our relationship with Him.

The picture that comes to mind is that of the young child running and leaping into His Daddy’s arms.  He is delighted to see His Daddy and to be held by him.  The child that delights in his Daddy will watch him closely.  They take note of what Daddy does, how he interacts with other people, the things he says, how he lives.  To a young child their parents are the focus of their life.  Oh – what a wonderful thrill and an awesome responsibility!

The Lord is our Heavenly Father.  Jesus came to earth and demonstrated the perfect Child to Father relationship.  He didn’t mince words, but faithfully demonstrated that God is the Perfect Father Who truly knows what is best.  As the climactic moment of Jesus’ life (and truly the climax of all history) approached, Jesus focused His whole being upon being faithful to the Father and loving those the Father had brought to Him.  That path lead to Calvary and a gruesome death on the cross.  How was Jesus able to do this?  And how does that relate to delighting in the Lord?

It was because of His complete and total faith in God the Father and His Father’s plan that enabled Him to do this.  And because His heart’s desire was to be obedient to the Father and please Him, He was able to experience His Peace even in the midst of the severest of trials.  He suffered grievous pain – yes, but He could take comfort knowing He was squarely in the middle of the Father’s will.

Jesus died and was buried, but in three days, the miracle around which all of history pivots occurred.  God raised Jesus from the dead.  And Jesus reigns at the right hand of the Father  God.  The desire of His heart – the redemption of God’s children, has been accomplished – halleluiah!!!

For us, it is stated simply, delight yourself… immerse yourself… focus your whole being upon the Lord and He will move on your behalf to enable the desires of your heart.

Now it is important to understand that in the immersion process we will take on more and more of the desires of the Father and less and less of the carnal, low desires of the flesh.  In fact as we live in the Spirit the dichotomy between desires of the flesh and desires of the Spirit become more pronounced.  God’s heart will fill us and we will truly desire things eternal.  Reconciliation, peace, comfort for the hurting, salvation for the lost, clarity for the confused, hope for the hopeless – these things will trump big bank accounts, accumulation of things, and recognition.  And God will move on our behalf to give us these good things.

I walk this path of seeking to delight myself in the Lord with you.  I’d like to say I am well along the path and I have succeeded in putting all fleshly desires aside, but I am a sojourner just like you.  I have experienced times of breakthrough and been blessed mightily.  But I have also had times of slipping back and turning my eyes and heart to lower things.  The gap between the “fun” of the lower things and the ecstatic joy of being in the Father’s presence grows ever greater.  Those times that I slide back become ever more distasteful.  They leave me with a hunger for God’s greater things.

Join me today in seeking to delight in the Lord.  Let us together experience the Joy of the Lord.  May His Holy Spirit fill us to overflowing and transform our heart’s desires to truly be His desire.

Father, we love you and we want to delight ourselves in you.  Too often we are distracted and enticed by lower things… desires less than what you have for us.  Help us to turn our eyes, our heart, our hope to you.  Put the delight of you as our first desire.  Make your home in us.  Pour your Holy Spirit into us and help us to be a people who are truly transformed and transformative in this world.  God be revealed in and through us.  We love you!  We give you all the glory this day. In the name of your Son, our Savior, Jesus!

Peace to you today.  May you know the all fulfilling Joy of the Lord as you delight yourself in Him.

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