Have you ever noticed how hard it is to make a decision when two or more people are involved? What if those two people have strong opinions or preferences… harder right? It is equally as painful to make a decision when the people involved have no opinions or preferences at all… “I don’t know, where we should go to dinner, you decide.” “No really, I’m good with whatever sounds good.” Ahhhhh! We have all experienced, or contributed to painful exchanges like these, which are usually ended by one frustrated person choosing something they don’t even want just to make a decision and move on.
Human’s are indeed interesting creatures. We are often conflicted about what we want and need, and even when we aren’t conflicted we struggle to express our desires out of fear of what the other person will say or do. You see the dilemma, don’t you? There exists 3 conflicting desires for all of us that we feel and experience but may not be fully aware of. These desires are so strong, so persuasive, that they have the power to destroy our lives, or make our lives full and beautiful. Ready for them? 1. The Enemy’s desires 2. Our desires and 3. God’s desires. These 3 desires are constantly at war with each other. Let’s start with the first one.
The Enemy’s desire = complete destruction (see John 10:10).
“But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed, and its destruction was complete.” Luke 6:49 (NIV)
Call him the Devil, Satan, or whatever else you want, but truth is that there is an enemy of our souls and he is real. No, you can’t see him, but you can see his handy work all around. Destroyed lives and families, broken marriages and addictions. People so overcome with fear and pain that they would do just about anything to relieve it. Here is where the enemy sweeps in to “help.” The result is not help, but something way worse, damage to ourselves, others and his ultimate goal… our destruction.
Our desire = a mixture of both good and bad, selfishness and selflessness.
Somewhere between God’s desire and the Devil’s desire we will find our own desires. Our desires are full of conflict themselves. The problem with most of us is that we think we know what we want and need and is best for us. The truth is what we want is often in opposition to God’s desire and more aligned with the Devil’s agenda, thus the many Christians who live lives of practical atheism instead of vibrant faith.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)
Wrapped up in our desires exists the desires of others whom we have allowed influence into who we are and have become. In your heart and mind you also carry both healthy and unhealthy messages about what you “should” be or “should” do. Your parents, grandparents, your spouse, friends, pastors, even old coaches and teachers. Anyone you have given permission to speak into your life (good or bad) has shaped you and is a part of your desires. You can see why they are in conflict. God has promised to give us the desires of our hearts (see Psalm 37:4) but the tricky part is that those desires are best realized when in alignment with God.
God’s desire = to make us complete. Wholeness is God’s game. (maturity & life)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 (NIV)
Only time away alone with God and with a clear heart and mind can we truly find and receive the life that God has for us. It is in these times alone with God and his word, in communion with the Holy Spirit, that we hear his loving voice and heart for us. God’s love for us is lavish, but he also not afraid to use pain and trials to bring about his best… our wholeness. One might think that if God’s desire is for our good, then why does he allow me to experience so much pain? That’s because God is a God of healing. He is about rescue and redemption. This is why when we’re disciplined by God it is evidence of his love and longing to see us become like Jesus (see Hebrews 12:6). God knows that a full and abundant life is not one full of things, or simply good feelings, it s full of love and especially Him (see 1 John 4:7).
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)
It’s important for us to understand our desires and be in touch with our passions. God didn’t say, “I will replace all of your passions and desire.” Rather, God said, “I will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:3-5).” The prerequisite for this gift God grants us is to first “Delight yourself in God.” Often what we find is that when we delight ourselves in God, he becomes more and more our desire.