In my life I’ve felt like it’s not okay to want certain things. In effort to please God, I feel like I need to sacrifice certain things that rival Him so that I won’t get to a place where He is not first in my life. And I chastise my desire on the cutting room floor.
But again and again it comes back. I struggle with what to do about different kinds of desires in walk my with Christ almost daily. Like desire for achievement. Desire for love. Desire for success. Desires for what I want. Some are different than others. Some fade away. Some linger around longer than others. But for the longest time, I have felt like God would be mad at me if I really wanted certain things. As if there is a barometer by which God measures my level of “want.” Or that He would say that I haven’t given up enough for Him. Then I feel antagonizing spiritual attack anytime I have moments where I do indeed think about wanting those things.
Have you ever felt isolated from God in the trappings of your own desires? For me, it makes me feel overwhelmingly weak in God’s presence. I have to bring my heart to Him every time and ask for His perspective to renew my mind…that I am fully loved by Him (Ephesians 3:19), that I belong to Him (Romans 14:8), that there is fullness of joy in Him (Psalm 16:11) and for Him to remind me that He is enough…and He’s always going to be.
And then I realize that, to God, the problem doesn’t lie in what I want, but how I respond to what I want. For too long, I’ve had my perspective all wrong. He’s not looking to punish me for the things within me which he created in the first place. He just wants to teach me an important lesson: how to choose Jesus first.
You see, chastising my desires only goes so far. What I really need to do is choose Jesus. Not rebuke myself. Just choose Jesus. And as He becomes elevated in my life, it becomes much easier to abandon that which I thought I wanted. And then my desires have a purpose. For it turns me to God and teaches me what it means to truly love Him with everything.
There is a response Jesus is waiting for us to utter and it gives purpose every time. Trust. Sacrifice. Obedience. Abiding. Trusting in who He is. Sacrificing what I think I want. Obeying Him no matter what the cost it may have in my life. Abiding in Him when I feel broken.
And its not always easy. There are moments when I’ve thought I had made a mistake by letting go of certain things in my life because of how excruciating it was to let it go. I thought I would feel better about myself in the wake of sacrificing my desires, but it only serves to illustrate the feeble work of my own hands in comparison with God’s grace. And how messed up I realize I really am as I waver back and forth with wanting to pick it back up again. My lack – of every kind – is always illuminated in these moments. And Jesus shines through them to prove to me that I don’t need to have it all together…because He’s holding it all together for me. And these tumultuous moments bring me nearer to Jesus than I’ve ever been, as He guides my emotions and steadies my heart.
By letting go of certain desires in our hearts, we experience what Jesus meant in Matthew 16:25 when He said, “For whoever wants to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Before, I had never really given that verse much extra thought after simply agreeing with it. But only knowing scripture doesn’t always produce effect. Though it’s an essential first step, ultimately we must internalize it and ask Jesus to let that be manifest in our lives. And it makes all the difference.
But in the difficult moments where we sense our “thorn of the flesh” that apostle Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 coming back again, we must remember what verse 9 says. Oh it is good. “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” Never forget how dangerous you are to the enemy in the surrendering of your weakness. Because that’s the moment where your trust is strongest. God will transform a weakened soul. He will meet with you in deepest parts of who you are…because you know you need Him. And you know you’re powerless without Him.
Now it’s becoming easier to let go of the desires I hope for. And as I surrender all these things, something starts to happen in my soul that breaks barriers between me and God. Brokenness.
This brokenness met by Jesus produces more joy than any desire fulfilled ever has.
I savor the moments of brokenness that I experience because I know that Jesus is here with me, feeling my hurt, comforting my heart, and promising to carry me through it. His bleeding hands cover my very soul, dripping with grace and mercy. And he’s waiting for you too.
God draws near to us as His people when we’re hurting. And as we run to Jesus and let him heal the agony that accompanies what we chose to lay down before him, He’ll meet us with a comfort we’ve never felt before. Be confident in that. Receive it. For that in itself is enough to sustain. We must fight the good fight of the faith, as it says in 1 Timothy 6:12, to choose Jesus! Even when it’s hard to.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 17:15, “But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied in Your presence.”
We can choose to be bitter over what we do not have. Or we can choose to be satisfied by His presence. We can choose to be disappointed with our current situation. Or we can choose to be grateful for the goodness of God – knowing that anything we do not have is actually a gift in that moment. I pray that God will use our current life situations to mature us in wisdom that will not only bring us all into a closer relationship with Jesus, but will help others who struggle with the same situations.
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Trust that He has your back! He has your best interest at heart. “Will the One who didn’t even spare His own Son but gave Him up for you and I not also graciously give us all things,” as it says in Romans 8:32? Surely, He will give you all. It’s just a matter of your perspective of what “all” is. If we can get to the point where we trust that Jesus is enough and nothing else will ever satisfy…we will have it all.
Position your heart towards Jesus. Let Him strengthen your heart today. Let Him whisper in your ear the love He has for you. And always will have for you. He’s the only One who can. And He’s always willing. He truly is the one who creates joy from brokenness. May we allow Him to do what He does best and enter our hearts today.
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.” – John 6:35 –
Questions for Today:
- What are the desires of my heart?
- How would Jesus have me respond to what I want?
- How can I trust that Jesus cares and has my best interests at heart?
- Why do I think God lets me wait?
- What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?
“Greater” by MercyMe