Archive for the ‘Desires’ Category

Be Set Apart: Let God’s Lordship Influence Your Behaviors

July 29, 2010

Read Judges 14:1-9

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. James 1:14-16 (ESV)

Instead of living a life set apart for God, Sampson lived for himself. He refused God’s lordship, dismissed God instructions, and what began as visits to the enemy, became marriage with a woman whose family and culture worshipped a foreign god. We do the same thing when we pursue what we want, when we want it, and pay no attention to what God wants for our lives.

Sampson disregarded God’s marriage instructions (even when reminded by his parents that he was not to be yoked to an unbeliever). It’s possible that Sampson disregarded the Nazirite restriction of not touching anything dead in order to satisfy his sweet tooth with honey.

Sadly enough, Sampson’s reasoning for marrying a woman of Timnah was, “She looks good to me.” Sampson’s fleshly thinking nurtured his fleshly desires and eventually influenced his decisions and actions. Since the Garden of Eden we’ve desired things that, although they appear sweet, are dangerous. Instead of pursuing them, we need to conquer them as Sampson defeated the lion. The impact of Adam and Eve pursuing their own desires and biting into the forbidden fruit introduced evil desires into our hearts. As a result, we need to learn to distinguish evil from good. Left to our own reasoning, we will not distinguish good from evil. Choosing God’s lordship in our lives aligns us with One who is truly good. Believing His truth and following His instructions keeps us safe in God’s protective care. Remaining here we are freed from the slavery that Sampson succumbed to in following his fleshly reasoning and in pursuing his desires and plans.

What wine is your mind drinking in and what choices are you making as a result of your thoughts. Let Sampson’s life invite you to question:

  • What have I allowed to influence my thinking?
  • What have I accepted as good?
  • What beliefs are influencing my behavior and driving my actions?

When My Plans Compete With God’s

June 25, 2010

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Shortly after leaving the elementary classroom in order to pursue my “next chapter” as a writer, I purchased tickets to attend a writer’s conference and flew 735 miles to pitch my study guide to a publishing agent. Upon arriving, I was informed that the agent scheduled to meet with me was sick and wouldn’t be attending.

This discovery devastated me and shattered all my plans. My investment of time, money, and energy was non-refundable. In my highly emotional state I retreated to my room, fell to my knees, and I’m uncertain whether I did more praying or crying. For a brief moment, I quieted myself to whisper a plea for God to somehow reveal His plan in the midst of my disappointment.

While reaching for a tissue, my eyes glanced at the title of my study guide, “Embracing Joy Whatever Your Experience.” It was then that it hit, the outcomes I desired for this conference were my desires that I formed into my plans and assumed they were God’s desires. It was time to surrender my failed plans and invite God to reveal what he desired for me thorough this conference.

Although I didn’t leave the conference with a book contract, I left free of personal desires that would have blinded me from discovering God’s plans for me during this conference.  

Personal Response

  • Be aware of the danger in assuming your desires and plans are God’s.
  • Ask God not to bless what you are doing but to help you do what He wants to bless.

God Never Withholds Good

June 24, 2010

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

Even in the middle of a garden of paradise, in enters the sleazy serpent slithering over to Eve carrying out his plan of seduction. First he invites Eve to question God’s goodness, “Did God really say, you must not eat from any tree in the garden?”  Secondly, he lures her to doubting the accuracy and value of God’s Word in blatantly calling God a liar, “You surely will not die.” Lastly, he presents God as a withholder, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

We find ourselves in the Garden every time our thoughts cause us to question if God’s holding out on us. Our questioning may sound like, “God why didn’t you…? This is the first lure leading you down the descent of false belief. The final step leads you to believe God is withholding by refusing to grant your request. Deceitful lies spoken by our culture say “The Bible makes no sense, make your own decisions.” Advertisements declare what we need and deserve if we will only purchase the item. After all, “You’re worth it!”

What Eve wanted, and what God wanted to protectively withhold, was the knowledge of evil.  Eve and Adam’s deadly bite into the fruit that appeared “good” introduced evil into the world. Everyone living has felt and experienced the catastrophic impact.

How thankful we are to have a loving and protective Father who withholds granting our requests and upgrades us by providing what is truly “good.”  I’m glad He always discerns the difference between what I believe to be good and what is truly better.

Personal Response

  • Reflect on past prayer requests where God said no in order to provide what was best. Thank Him for protecting you from your desires and requests.
  • Ask God to always trump your wants and upgrade your requests by giving you what is truly “good.”

When Expectations Blind

June 21, 2010

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.  2 Kings 5:11

The same deceiver that spoke to Eve is whispering deceptive lies to us. These lies form into faulty expectations of  things we think God should do or ways we believe He should act. In essence we present an agenda, not a request list, to God. Without realizing it, we create a God in our image instead of allowing God to create us into His image.

As Naaman’s faulty expectations nearly robbed him of healing, even so, our expectations blind us from seeing who God is and what He wants to do in us: changing us to reflect His likeness.

Until we surrender what we want God to do, and stop defining the way we want Him to work, we rob ourselves from discovering who God really is and we miss His transforming power to change us.

We desperately need to return to Christ’s model of prayer: “Yet, not my will, but yours be done.” (Matt. 26:39)  The challenge is dying to our expectations. Christ’s confidence that His Father wanted what was best allowed him to surrender His desires for God’s.  It is a trust in our Loving God that allows us to release the blinding expectations that separate us from discovering Him.

Personal Response 

  • Ask God to show you faulty expectations you have of Him.
  • Ask God to help you release your faulty expectations allowing you to discover His greater plans for your life (and for others).