Desires & Purpose

So what do I desire? And how will I achieve it?

I’m thinking about this as of late. I don’t know the answers. We live in a world that says we should have everything we want, whenever we want it, and running over people is acceptable as long as it serves some purpose. Be assertive, the world says; know what you want, put your boots on, and go get it. But is that how a Christian should live? Is that how a follower of Christ should pursue her desires? I don’t think so.

Rich Mullins spoke of these issues:

The more we pursue what we think we want, the more it eludes us. Or, we get what we think we want, and we find out we didn’t really want it in the first place. Everything that we go after will disappoint us. I don’t think there’s a whole lot of advantage in being terrifically assertive. We do not find happiness by being assertive. The Scriptures don’t teach us to be assertive. The Scriptures teach us–and this is remarkable–the Scriptures teach us to be submissive.

Christ would have us serve. We may be here for a purpose, but we are not here to serve ourselves. It is so easy (for me!) to confuse the two. I get to thinking that this “purpose”–whatever it may be–is that “greater good” that justifies pursuit “by any means.” It’s not. For a follower of Christ, purpose can only come to fruition within the parameters of obedience to and fellowship with Christ our King. It is His purpose that calls to our hearts.

We know that He has a purpose for each one of our lives, but the moment we stop looking to Him to define that purpose, we have set up a throne for some other lord–some lesser lord–to reign in our hearts, our relationships, our actions, our choices, and even our ministries.

So know your desires. Know your heart. Make a plan. But never forget that the heart is deceitful above all things. Never forget that any purpose you pursue that pulls you away from your Savior is not worth the price of achieving.  If your desires and purpose is not God-inspired and God-fulfilled, then it will fade like the morning mist.

And please, help me to remember.

Have a blessed weekend, folks! And on a personal note, please keep my mother in your prayers this weekend; she is quite unwell. Next week, I promise we’ll do something fun (of course…I get to define “fun”…).

Pax Domini!

Sarah

Delight Yourself in the Lord

Yes, that’s what David wrote in Psalm 37:4.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I’ve always been amazed at how often we quote this verse, and, coincidentally, how loathe we are to quote other verses from this beautiful acrostic poem of David’s. For instance, how many times have we quoted verse 8?

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.

Or verse 16, one of my personal favorites (it reminds me that riches are truly not counted in dollars).

Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked.

I would say that it’s funny how drawn we are to the verse that talks about God giving us what we want rather than the verses that talk about doing what is right or being blessed in having “little,” except that it’s really not funny at all. It’s rather sad, actually.

And it’s frustrating to me personally. I write this not because I am frustrated with other Christians, but because I am frustrated with myself. How I long for God to give me all that I desire! And how I cry when He doesn’t! In some ways, I fear I am still incredibly childish. And when God doesn’t give me what I desire, my reaction is not usually, “God must have something better for me!” No, no…I usually suffer through my own tantrum before I realize that God is patiently waiting for me to remember that He has a good plan for my life–a better plan, it’s worth noting, than any I could put together.

But I’m learning. That’s the key, right?

But man. I can’t help but wonder if David knew, deep down, that self-focused, frustrated, depressed young women like me would latch onto this verse (verse 4) and want it to mean something it doesn’t. If David didn’t, God certainly did, for He compelled David’s poetic hand to clarify (or confound…it’s hard to tell which) the following verses–same chapter, verses 23-25:

If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; [24] though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. [25] I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

So how do we move from seeking our own desires to seeking that Christ would delight in us? I think the answer is right back in verse 4: Delight yourself in the Lord. When our desires fall in line behind that delight, that desire for God, then I think we are in a place where God not only delights in delighting us, but where He can begin to change any desire that is unaligned with His plan for our lives.

And oh, is that a difficult place to be if you don’t continue delighting in Him! The truth is, He may ask us to give some things up. He may change our goals, our passions. He may bring something into your life that is entirely not what you wanted or expected.

Oh, I pray that He does. I pray that He changes my desires–makes them His own. I want my life to reflect my beautiful Savior in some small way. I want to hear those words, “well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to know that deep joy and satisfaction of seeing His face in the New Jerusalem and realizing that everything–all the struggle, all the frustration, all the obstacles and challenges and changes, all the burdens–was worth it.

In the meantime, we grow. Seed by seed. Root by root. We dig in, we feed on God’s Word, we drink deep of His Spirit, we turn our faces to His Son, and we push through the dirt until He brings our desires to fruition. Suddenly, we forget that we desired anything other than His own being.

So don’t stop. The reward is near. Keep on. Push through the dirt, spread your arms, and bloom.