Interests

When interest is lost, the loss is deep and lasting.

This is not in direct reference to money, the kind of interest that increases the amount of one’s wealth as it is measured by financial standards. There is information a plenty on that kind of interest.

The interest this writing concerns is a continuing fascination of the mind, a curiosity of the heart that is not easily satisfied, a taste for ideas of substance and a thirst to know more about a particular thing. It is the answer to the question, “And, what are your interests?”

This is important!
At first glance this may seem a frivolous thing but it is not at all inconsequential. The biblical term for our interests is “the desires of your heart.” Our interests are not passing fancies; they are born early in our lives and they stay, unless we lose them through neglect, to the end of our days if our minds keep serving us well that long.

Even when we were small children, the things that fascinated us were indications of the kind of mind and heart the Lord had given us. Many of us make a living at the very things we pretended to do when we were children. It is said that an infant is fascinated by swirling colors and shapes but is bored by still, drab images. This is a sign of our human gift of intelligence. Each of us also has a deep inward need to interpret what we see—to assign meaning to our observations.

Our interests have many sources and, as we grow up, our environment will feed some of our interests and starve others. It is not by accident that artistic parents raise artistic children when those children grow up in homes filled with stimuli and packed with rewards for creativity.

The Lord Shapes our Interests
As we follow the Lord, Jesus takes a direct hand in shaping our interests. “Every good and perfect gift” comes from the Lord. For some of us, a fascination with music fills our earliest memories and has never waned in all the years since. Music is one of those “good gifts” from the hand of God. If we exercise our interest in music within the context of God’s Kingdom, our natural interest blossoms into a source of God’s strength in our lives and, for many of us, a primary way of serving God and mankind.

The imminent danger comes from feeding ungodly interests. The enemy of our souls is ready to pounce on every evil thing we do and every wicked thing done to us by others. If we are obsessed with wickedness, these interests will only yield pain as the years pass. Jesus wants to deliver us from evil interests and replace them with fascination for His creation, delight in His Word, and power in His Spirit.

There are three processes at work:
1. God gives us natural interests.
2. We develop those interests into life skills.
3. As we follow Christ, He shapes our interests–the desires of our heart–throughout our lifetime.

As we follow Christ we are “delighting ourselves in Him” as we pursue our God-given interests. It is not tortuous—it is fun! So whether it is a job or a hobby, if it pleases God, we can enjoy what interests us. So have fun today. Delight yourself in the desires of your heart. They are a gift from the heart of God.

Scriptures:
James 1:17

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Psalms 37:3-6
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Colossians 3:17; 23-24
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving
Ecclesiastes 11:9
Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, from my earliest memory certain things fascinated me. In childhood play those fascinations became games I made up. In the early grades my interests became skills I was learning: reading, writing, story-telling, singing and play acting. These interests stayed with me to adulthood, helping me know what classes to take and what activities to join. They also provided me with friends who shared them with me. Lord, this was no accident. The interests of my childhood became my calling from You. So today, if I should spend time having fun with these things, this is not time wasted but is a holy thing, a gift from Your hand. As I work, rest, or play today, renew my mind, refresh my spirit and rest me deeply in Your peace. I will give all my renewed strength to the honor You so richly deserve. In Your Name, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Song:
Let the Peace of Christ Rule in Your Heart
Words: Colossians 3:15; Music: Denny Cagle

Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart,
Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart,
And whatever you do in word or deed
Do it all in the name of the Lord.

Giving thanks, giving thanks to God through Christ, the Lord.
Giving thanks, giving thanks to God through Christ, the Lord.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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