What the Heart Wants

This entry is part 86 of 116 in the series Holiness Matters
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It seems nowadays everyone has their own angle. They are out to please themselves or get ahead in life. It doesn’t help that our American culture champions selfish ambition, greed, and every sort of desire.

If everyone followed their own desires all the time, we would live in a pretty selfish world. There are some people who use their selfish desires to help others, but usually they want the glory, praise, and attention. It’s to make themselves look good more than to help others.

God checks our motives regularly. The Holy Spirit is watching everything we do and he knows why we do them. The Bible talks about desires mostly as evil. “The Flesh” represents the selfish desires we have.

Christians fight the flesh every day. It always wants us to return to the days before we met Christ. But we must stand firm against it. The Bible also talks about godly desires. We must constantly choose to serve God instead of our flesh.

Selfish Desires

Jesus wants to change selfish desires into godly ones. The Bible talks about selfishness and the lack of self-control everyone has before they meet Jesus. When the Holy Spirit dwells in you, your desires change from selfish desires to serving desires.

We want to serve others and to serve God. We want to be servants in his kingdom. Jesus taught us as his disciples that the greatest one in his kingdom is the one who is servant of all (Matthew 18:4; John 15:12-15). Serving God’s kingdom is our greatest calling.

Selfish desires don’t look out for others. They only look out for number one, me. And don’t think for a second that just because you become a Christian your selfish desires go away. You have to fight them every day.

But we can have victory through the fruit of the Spirit, self-control and love for others, to name a few (Galatians 5:22-23). This is where God makes one of the biggest differences in our lives. He makes us want something other than our own success.

Christians begin to think of other Christians, and even those who aren’t Christians. They seek the welfare of others before their own. It’s not that we can’t satisfy our desires. But they have changed to serve Christ first. We seek his kingdom and glory before our own.

And God blesses our lack of selfishness. He blesses our desire to serve others. In serving others, we are blessed ourselves. We don’t serve others to get our own blessing. But God blesses us because we put others first.

Kill the desire to serve yourself. Put selfish desires away. Serve God and his kingdom, his people and others around you first, and you will find that everything else falls into place (Matthew 6:33).

Evil Desires

Another type of desire we find in the Bible that doesn’t please God is an evil desire. These are the sins we used to commit before we met Jesus. Evil desires focus on hurting others. They definitely don’t please God.

These are the desires that come from the evil one, Satan. He wants nothing more than to get Christians off track. One of the best ways to do that is to tempt them in every way. But he can’t tempt us beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

We need God to give us the way of escape when temptation comes. Be prepared for it. Have a plan so you can avoid temptation. You can’t be tempted if you make your escape plan beforehand. All you have to do is put it into action when temptation comes.

Another way to avoid temptation that leads to sin and evil desires is to be doing God’s works. When we work for God, we don’t focus on the passions of this world. We have a goal, a mission to accomplish. We get focused on what God wants us to do instead of what the devil tempts us with.

Avoid evil desires and temptation. Seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first. Remember that every time you fulfill an evil desire, you don’t just hurt yourself. One of the lures of sin is that it won’t affect anyone else. Every sin we commit hurts God’s heart and causes us strife.

Godly Desires

When you look at “desire” in the Bible, you’ll find that most of the references reference selfish and evil desires. But the Bible also talks about the godly desires Jesus gives us when he creates us as new creatures.

Psalm 37:4 promises us that if we delight ourselves and the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart. What most people don’t understand about this verse is it’s not saying we’ll get whatever we want.

When Jesus tells us we can ask anything in his name, we are not asking for a convertible or 1 million dollars (John 14:13-14). We are asking “in his name.” When we get the desires of our heart, we delight in the Lord. Nothing is focused on selfish desires.

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, we want what he wants. Our desires aren’t selfish. They are God centered desires. This is the difference Jesus makes in us. We no longer ask him for what we want selfishly.

James cautions Christians to not ask God for their own selfish desires. They will never get what they want that way (James 4:3). Instead, we focus on what God wants and how to serve others. When we have these godly desires, God gives us the desires of our heart.

Every once in a while God blesses me beyond measure with something I have wanted. But I don’t seek that desire He surprises me with it. But these kinds of things only happen when we seek godly desires instead of selfish and evil ones.

Conclusion

The Bible talks a lot about our desires. But when we meet Jesus, our desires change from selfish and evil ones the godly ones. We want to serve God with all of our heart. We want to give ourselves completely to God’s will.

We learned very quickly as we serve God that his wisdom is better than the world’s. We get the most benefit out of serving God. We don’t serve him to look good in front of others. We serve him out of love and gratitude for his selfless act on the cross for us.

What are some ways you avoid selfish and evil desires? How do you serve God’s kingdom and his righteousness in your life?

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