The desires of the heart

Psalm 19:10 -11 “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.  Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

How do you make choices? How do you determine what the best course of action is for you?  One of the primary means is probably based on your desires, i.e., we do what we want to do.  So often we hear people say, “I’d like to do more of this or that, but I just don’t have the time.”  What that likely means is that they don’t have the time because their time is spent doing other things that they believe are more worthy.  We like, want, or believe we need to do those other things more than we like, want, or believe we need to do the alternatives.  But are we making the best choices?  How do we know that the alternatives aren’t better than what we’ve chosen to give our time and resources to? 

For the natural man there are two main types of desires that drive our decisions. These are pointed out in Psalm 19:10 above.  One of them is the desire for physical things – here typified by gold. This would apply to money and the physical things and experiences that money can buy. The other desire is for satisfaction of our physical appetites – typified by the sweetness of honey.  Physical appetites for food, drink, sex, and power drive so many of the decisions that we make. 

However, for the believer, God is telling us in the verses above that there are things we should desire that are much better for us than these.  Those things are the writings in the Word of God, words by which God has warned us against things that can bring us harm and words that encourage us in things that bring us reward.  It is from the perspective of the omniscient God that these words are written, for He alone has a perfect perspective from which to compare everything in this world to every other thing.  He’s telling us that from His perfect view, there is really no comparison between His Word and everything else we might place our desires on.

Yet, there are many who see religion, following God, as nothing more than a means to acquire the very things the natural man desires – money, the things money can buy, and the satisfaction of physical desires. For example, many people have been told if they will just give as much money as possible to the church (or a televangelist), then God will give them back so much more of that very same thing.  But that makes no sense when we know God has told us that there are things, such as His Word, that are so much superior to those other things. 

What God wills for us is that we not be driven in life by our natural desires (the same desires of those who could care less about Him) but by supernatural desires. These are desires that come directly from Him, and only Him, and that bring blessings far beyond anything else on the face of the earth.  He’s told us in Psalm 37 that if we delight ourselves in Him, then His delights and desires will become ours as well.  And it is on the basis of those desires that we will have the wisdom to make the very best decisions and choices as we walk through this life.

You see, the natural man has no spiritual desires, for the natural man, without God, is spiritually dead.  The bread of life, the Word of God, has no appeal to such a person. He or she has no appetite for it.  But the person who has been born again is given new desires. It is that person that comes to realize that, as Jesus told Satan when tempted by the same types of natural desires that the vast majority of the human race covets, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).” By this Jesus was referring not to physical life, which is in pursuit of purely physical desires, but spiritual life, eternal life, and the supernatural desires that accompany it. 

May God give us the desires of our heart, but may those desires be His desires, which are the very best things for us, things that are geared towards storing up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For it is where our treasures are that our heart, and the desires of our heart, will be also (Matthew 6:20-21).

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