loca-laina asked you:
How does someone decipher the line between REALLY wanting something, and knowing that it’s actually God’s plan for you? There are so many instances in life right now where I feel so strongly that I’m ‘supposed’ to do this or that, but my family and friends believe that it’s my own personal desires…How do I know?
Jed Brewer replied:
I think we need to ask whether this is an either/or kind of thing. In other words, when we feel an urge to go in a particular direction, does it have to be just our desires versus just God’s leading? Can it be a bit of both?
Here’s an amazing Bible verse on the subject.
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Ephesians 3:20, MSG)
If God is at work inside of us, changing us, and transforming us, is it possible that we would begin to want the things that He wants for us? Is it possible that the urge we feel could be both his Spirit and our spirit, joined together in excited agreement?
I think that’s what David had in mind here:
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4, NIV)
What David – the guy that wrote this particular Psalm – is saying, is that, as we live into a life where God is at the center, and God is the thing we’re seeking, God begins to shape us and mold us to the point that we begin to want new and different things than we used to. And then, God turns right around and gives us exactly the things he’s taught us to want!
In the church, we have a way of demonizing human desire – the idea that whatever you want is wrong. Well, that’s just silly.
The truth, of course, is that you do have a “sinful nature” that only wants wrong things. But, if you’re a Christian, a new you has been brought to life that actually wants good stuff! (See Romans 7:22)
It’s OK for you to want things, Alaina. You are allowed to have desires. You are meant to have desires.
The righteous thing is not to be stoic and aloof and pretend you don’t care about the stuff you want (although you see a lot of Christians trying this). The righteous thing is to take those desires to God and figure out what he wants you to do with them.
If you were a mom, and you had a little four year old boy, and he wanted ice cream, what would you want him to do? You’d want him to come to you and say, “Mommy, I want ice cream!” You wouldn’t want him to pretend he didn’t really want ice cream (that would be weird), and you wouldn’t want him to bypass you and attempt to just serve himself some ice cream (that would make a mess). No, you’d want him to bring his request straight to you.
Well, see, that’s what God wants, too. He wants to give you wisdom on the right way to fulfill the desire that you have. Let’s say that your church was gonna do a little missions trip, and you wanted to go, but you weren’t sure if God wanted you to go. Well, the right thing to do would be to sit down with God and tell him exactly that: “God, I want to go on this missions trip. I think it’d be awesome. And I wanna. Now, Lord, would you give me wisdom about this desire and what to do with it?”
Then, as you read your Bible, sought wise counsel, and listened to the Lord in prayer, what you might find occurring to you is that what you were looking for was a sense of adventure and a project to work on. And we can read the Bible and know that God wants us to have both of those things in bulk. (See Romans 8:15, MSG and Ephesians 2:10)
And let’s say that then you see that the local Habitat for Humanity chapter is gonna do work down in the inner city. And, you start thinking about that, and realize, that’s a whole lot of adventure, and a whole lot of project, and it’d just keep on going, unlike a trip that only lasts a week! Heck yes – sign me up!!
Well, see, what we’ve done here is to let the Lord direct us, and direct us to something that’s a better fit and more satisfying than the thing we would have gone with on our own. We didn’t deny our desires, we let God be in charge of them. And there’s nothing more righteous, or more satisfying, than that.
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