Led by the Desires of Our Hearts?
Excerpt from Seven Keys to Hearing God's Voice
The psalmist wrote, May He grant you according to your heart's desire, and fulfill all your purpose (Psalm 20:4).
The Lord gives us some wonderful promises in His Word concerning the desire of our hearts. One of the most striking is found in Psalm 37:
Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. (Verses 3-5).
Just like an earthly father who delights in providing his children with the things that they write on their Christmas list, our heavenly Father delights in giving us the things we desire -- but not all of them.
There are times when we desire something that seems good to us, but from God's point of view it would not result in our ultimate good.
Our Father in heaven truly knows what is best for our lives. There are times when we want certain things that He knows would be a hindrance to us. My dad often tells the story of an interview he once watched with a world-class pianist. The reporter remarked that he would love to be able to play the piano as well as this man did. With a slight smirk, the musician replied, "No you wouldn't."
The reporter was shocked. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"To be as good as me you would have had to have begun studying piano not long after you learned to walk. When your friends were out playing games, you would be inside playing your scales. You would have to play for eight hours every day, and then perform nearly every night. You would have to travel around the world, moving from one hotel to another. You would be constantly lonely, not being able to maintain long-term relationships. No, you wouldn't want to be as good as I am."
There is such a thing as a divine rejection. There are times when we cry out to God, Lord, this is the desire of my heart! Please give it to me," but the Father knows that the thing that we want so badly is actually bait on a sharp hook. If we were to swallow that bait, it would take us to places we did not want to go. In His great love for us, God may withhold certain things to protect us.
In other cases, there are things we desire that may not be at all harmful, but the Lord will keep them from us because He has something even better in mind for us. How many of us have prayed to be in a certain job, or marry a certain person, or receive a certain material blessing, only to realize later that that job, or person, or thing was not all that we thought it was! Many times, when the Lord has withheld something from me, I have later come to realize that it was for my protection and my long-term good. It is always best to pray that God's will would be done!
Death of the Vision
It is also important to realize that sometimes the Lord will plant His desires in our heart and then cause those desires to grow so that we will seek Him. And at some point in the process, He may require that we surrender those dreams back to Him. This is called "dying to the vision," and it is a test that the Lord will often put His children through to determine their love for Him.
God may promise something to us and place a desire for it in our heart, and then require the very thing from us that He had promised. With Abraham, God promised him an heir in his old age. The birth of this baby brought so much joy to Abraham and Sarah that they named him Isaac, which actually means laughter. But when Isaac was a teenager, the Lord tested Abraham's faith by asking him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God. In obedience Abraham built an altar, placed the wood in position, bound the hands of his son, and laid him on it. Just as he raised the knife to slay his son, the angel of the Lord stopped him. God provided a ram, caught in the thicket, for Abraham to sacrifice to the Lord instead of his son (see Genesis 22).
If we will die to the vision that is in our heart, and allow the Lord to have everything in our lives, He will not only give us that thing that He promised, but it will be better than we could have ever imagined in our own minds.
The great holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom often spoke these words of wisdom, "Hold loosely to the things of this life, so that if God requires them of you, it will be easy to let them go."
God will give us the desires of our heart, but the first desire of our heart should be to serve Christ Himself. When we have Christ as our chief desire, all of the other desires of our heart will be submitted to His lordship, and we can willingly pray, 'Not my will, but Thine be done.' When that happens, God will give us our hearts' desire, which will also be His desire for us!
What is in Your Hand?
Often God will use different circumstances to lead you in life. Sometimes He won't reveal certain things to you until you need to know them -- for many different reasons. At other times, the Lord will conceal His direction because He knows that if He revealed it to you, and you knew what was to come, you wouldn't go down that path -- but that is exactly the direction that He intends for your life.
When things don't seem to be working out, or you're having a hard time, it is not always because you're out of the will of God. It may be that you are directly in the will of God, and He is controlling the circumstances of your life to bring about His purpose for you. In these times you must remain prayerful, and consider the combination of ways that He is guiding you through your personal relationship with Him, and through the other seven keys to hearing God's voice.
There are thousands of Christians who are wasting their lives, waiting for God to make clear to them their calling. God has given them the Scripture, which reveals God's general will for all believers. In that alone, they can see that the Lord does not want them to bury their talents but to use them to His glory. When Moses was questioning God in front of the burning bush, he said, "Suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice?" (Exodus 4:1). The Lord replied to him, "What is that in your hand?" (verse 2). Of course, we know that what was in Moses' hand was the rod that the Lord used as an instrument to demonstrate His power.
The Lord is asking you today, "What is that in your hand?" You may have read in the Bible that the Lord has a unique calling for your life. You may have heard some specific direction from the Lord concerning that calling, but you still are waiting for it to happen in your life. I ask you today, "What is that in your hand?" Do what is in your hand to do. Move forward in faith in the things that you have heard from the Lord, and God will meet you where you are. Like Peter in the boat on that stormy night, you may have heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Come out on the water." You have to make a decision to lift your foot over the edge of that boat and step out, trusting that you have heard His voice, and keeping your eyes on Him in the midst of the storm.
God will provide you with the grace and strength that you need to get it done, but you must take that first step in obeying His will for your life.
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