Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Over the years, I've often considered the 'desires of my heart' to be 'external' things. Such as, where I want to live, what I want to be doing, who I would marry, where I'd like to live, what kind of house I'd like to have. Much akin to an ancient list of desires found in Deuteronomy 14:26 NASB: "26 You may spend the money for whatever your [a]heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your [b]heart [c]desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household."
However, my life circumstances has brought about a challenge to my personal 'desires of my heart theology'. I'm often left confused, and even wondering if it is 'right' to even have any 'desires' in my heart at all- given health challenges have eroded or destroyed so many of my presumptive desires.
The 'desires of your heart' came up again in our Sunday School class last week. Seems a topic which arises regularly in the Church, especially in context of people discussing prayer and God's will... Amoung those who are healthy, or unhealthy- there seems to be a general wonderment about the subject.
Aside from the Deuteronomy verse, the other go-to verse that people cling to is Psalm 37:4: "Delight yourself in the Lord;And He will give you the desires of your heart." Ah, and who doesn't want the desires of their heart? Whatever those are?!
For me, in my youth as a Believer, and with great cultural influence on my personal theology, I hung my hat, or rather heart, on the external things of life; as I listed at the beginning of this.
Now, I my theology of the desires-of-my-heart is in metamorphosis, and for me, the things which I'd once thought of as desires of my heart are slowly being placed up on the shelf of 'lusting for worldly things', instead of more of an internally, eternally directed desire of my heart.
Even looking at my ancient brethrens' list of desires- it turns out the original Hebrew word used in that verse is 'nephesh'- which speaks to an emphasis on 'creature appetites' and 'personal pleasure'; that which is lusted after, has external appeal.
The Hebrew root of desire in the Psalm 37:4 verse root word means: desire, but here, I think the beginning of the verse gives us the best insight- as it states: "Delight yourself in the LORD; and..."
That is the key.
Desire in and of itself is not right or wrong. Where it gets messed-up, is in what or whom we are giving top billing in our desire.
Too often I've been the offender in holding tight to my list of external desires, even to the extent that if those external things happen, then I've 'arrived' spiritually- as the external/worldly things are my road-signs/evidence of my righteousness. If I'm not 'getting' those things like my 'heart desires', then perhaps I'm 'delighting myself in the LORD enough'.... bad theology!
Rather- the greatest desire of my heart is best to be to delight myself in the LORD. (period) To walk in His ways (Micah 6:8)... Learn more about Who He Is, about His characteristics. The rest of life-things will fall into place.
It is good for me to learn about myself- and how He has made me- my personality, my talents, gifts, passions; to consider life goals... but if I am not keeping the desire of my heart set on Him- confusion comes. When I have the desire of my heart set on Him- peace, wisdom, understanding, direction...these come.
And really- knowing how fleeting and changeable the things of this world are- I am much more settled on this new (for me) look at the desires of my heart. Oh but how wonderful, no matter my circumstance- to have peace, wisdom, understanding, direction...
God builds room into each of our lives, each of our days, to serve Him, and to serve others. Oh my, but I have lost out on so many opportunities obsessing about making sure circumstances seem 'right' to me first, or chasing after carnal knowledge, waiting for the 'big break', better health, more money, or even for God's special 'will/purpose' for me- but I've been so blinded by the dazzle, and dizziness of a worldly life- even with seemingly good things... that I've missed out on God appointed moments.
May the words of the Apostle Paul shine as a bright beacon to my heart- as he writes God's words to us in 1Corinthians 12: 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.
Show me the more excellent way, to delight myself in You LORD; teach me to walk in Your ways; that my heart's desire becomes all the more about pleasing You; and in this, lead me into Your will, and the fulfillment of the purpose/desires You have for me- as You LORD know far better than I as to what these will be- and what will be of eternal value~
If you'd like to do a bit more study on the subject yourself- here is a good page on which to start: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/desire.html
BTW- still haven't been on to blog much as of late.. my dad continues to have major health issues, and so any extra energy I've had is going into helping him~ Your prayers are appreciated~