Desires

The desires of the heart are sometimes stylish, parading themselves on the runway, like models in the latest fashions. At other times they are stealthy; words sneaking out of their hiding places in small talk as if no one is listening.

Where do these strutting mannequins come from? What is the source of these flat but revealing words?

The heart.

Until the deep work of the Spirit is done, the heart of each individual is a repository of ambition and anger, sin and sedition, and lofty ideals and low impulses. This depressing diagnosis comes from the Great Physician Himself.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”

Rough words, but true.

The list of the heart’s desires is faithfully reported in Scripture and there is no need to report it here. This is the time and place for searching the soul. Where can we find the cure for this inborn sickness?

The answer is a heart transplant.

King Saul Was Given a New Heart.
Long before medical science figured out how to replace a defective heart with one in working order from another individual, the Holy Spirit had long ago perfected this surgery. It is said that Saul, a tall, good-looking, but timid man became the Great King Saul because God gave him a new heart. Wow! Now that is a gift. The rest of Saul’s story is a tragedy of a man who did not tend his new heart. He let it rot in his chest until all was lost, including his kingdom.

There Are More Stories to be Told.
But history tells many, many other stories of people who received a new heart when they invited the Lord Jesus in to take residence there. Hearts that were filled with evil, rage, and despair were replaced by “Kingdom hearts” full of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

And here is the best part—the old list of desires is replaced by an entirely new list! With the new heart, the desire for old things found on the road to hell pass away and a fervent longing for the new things found on the Path of Life takes its place. What is the trigger mechanism that initiates and renews this profound change?

Delight.

Specifically, delighting oneself in the Lord.

To delight in the Lord is to focus one’s life on Jesus;

  • to pursue His will, not ours;
  • to love Him with heart, soul, mind, and strength;
  • to listen to His word and
  • to obey Him as we can.

The Process of Delighting in the Lord is powerful.

  • This delighting process starves the old heart and feeds the new one.
  • It dulls the old mind and sharpens the new.
  • It mitigates the old desires and feeds the new passions.

Understand the Promise!
Some think this promise says that God will give us whatever we want. Far from saying such a thing, the promise is that we will get a brand new list of things we want, a new set of heart’s desires. And that is a different thing altogether!

In these days of repentance and seeking God’s face, let us delight in Him. As we do, we will no longer be embarrassed by the strutting of self or beset by the stealth of secret sins. We can rest in a pure heart, a gift from God, and we can let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our heart flow unhindered from our lives.

Scriptures:
Matthew 12:33-37; 15: 17-20 NIV
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. … For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks … the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
Psalms 37:1-8
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 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. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil.

Prayer:
Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God ,and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. … O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Song:
Create In Me a Clean Heart
Words and Music: Keith Green

Create in me a Clean Heart, Oh God
And renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a Clean Heart, Oh God
And renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord
And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto to me joy of Thy Salvation
And renew a right spirit within me.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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