Monday, October 31, 2016

Desiring and Having

(submitted by Kerry Patton)

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: 6He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.”
Psalm 37:3-6
What do you want?
Unbridled desire can be a treacherous thing…and not just in a sexual sense.  The desire for anything can become consuming to the point that all proper perspective is lost and the only thing in our vision is that thing…whatever it is.  And the diversity of that thing can be vast.  Desire may set its eye upon a relationship, or a material possession.  It can be something as simple as a personal goal, or as complex as the control of a company, a group of people, or an entire country.  When we become so fixated on one thing, our vision becomes practically blinded.  We become myopic to everything except what we desire.  I hear this sometimes in counseling persons who are looking back on a bad decision, or a moral or ethical failure.  Common in their stories are words similar to: “I don’t know what I was thinking…It’s like…all I could see was (insert their failure or decision).  Nothing else mattered.  I didn’t think about the consequences…”
Merriam Webster defines the word Myopia as:
·       a condition in which the visual images come to a focus in front of the retina of the eye resulting especially in defective vision of distant objects… and
·       a lack of foresight or discernment:   a narrow view of something.
Have you ever been so captivated by a temptation…or a possession…or a relationship…that you could not see anything else?  Have you fallen into spiritual or relational, or material myopia?  I have.  I think at one time or another everyone has.  And the end result of me being there is generally the same: having is rarely the same as desiring.  I say again for emphasis: “Having is rarely the same as desiring.”  Most generally, whatever thing that catches my eye brings far less satisfaction upon having it as the yearning I suffered while captivated in desiring it.  In our faith, this could be described as temptation.
James 1:14-15 says: 14…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Changing Desires
Verses 4 and 5 of Psalm 37 speak wisdom into the realm of what we desire: “4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5Commit your way to the Lord…” The logic could be easily misunderstood.  “Hey… If I will simply get really committed to the Lord, and take my delight in him, then he will give me every desire of my heart!”  Uh…no.  That’s not the point.  The point is that as I take delight in the Lord and commit my way to him, I find that my desires change, my priorities change, and the passions of my heart are transformed toward higher and better desires, priorities, relationships, goals, needs…EVERYTHING becomes more and more Christ like.  And truly, that is the point, isn’t it.  Not whether I get what has enticed my flesh or ambition.

Adjust Your Advertising
Every year, more money is spent than you and I could count on advertising.  Everything is for sale: clothes, food, automobiles, sex, cigarettes, and…you name it...  It’s being marketed to us through television, radio, print, internet ads, music, and movies.  We are being directly baited to buy into things that we may not necessarily need.  Yet millions upon millions upon millions are being spent to ensure that we suddenly realize how much we “need” those things.
The same thing is happening in the spiritual realm.  Satan and his minions are without ceasing in their campaign to get humanity to buy into any number of indulgent sins at any given time.  They are “advertising” toward the human heart and mind to get us to become myopic toward what he is selling: eternal condemnation and spiritual death.  If we are wise, however, we will recognize how we are being attacked and we will refocus our attention away from what is being sold.  We can avoid spiritual myopia quite simply by being evermore diligent about keeping our eyes on Jesus.  As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi in Philippians 4:8-9:
 8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”


Almighty God, your word describes the human heart as deceitful…and truly it is.  Today, I pray for and inventory of those things I desire.  As King David prayed, “Search me, O God and know my heart, try me and know my mind…and see if there be any wicked way in me.”  Teach me to set my desires upon you so that what I will have is what you desire for me.   In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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