Tuesday, March 5, 2013

30 Days With Wesley: Desire

Near the end of one of today's prayers from 30 Days With Wesley was this:

"...cleanse our hearts from every desire but that of advancing Your glory..."

It would be easy to sort of blow right past that, especially when using a written prayer book for prayer.

This is not just a run-of-the-mill spiritual platitude.  There are plenty of places and people in this world that one can go to for those (unfortunately).

"Cleanse our hearts."

God wants to save us from sin and spiritual death.  But the initial act of saving is just the beginning.  God gives us a new birth in Christ.  In the same way as any human mother would, God doesn't give us birth and then say "it is finished."  In fact, if I recall correctly, Jesus used that exact phrase not at birth, but at death.  There is a lot more that could be said about that.

In any case, a new birth in Christ, while one of the most joyful moments one can experience, is just the beginning.  God wants to cleanse our hearts - put another way, to sanctify us.  This is a monumental task for humans who have been filled with and warped by sin and the nature of sin in us.  But it is not too hard a task for God.  Indeed, "nothing is impossible with God"! (Luke 1:37)

"From every desire."

I don't know about you, but I have had many desires in my life.  Some I used to have and have no longer either because they have been fulfilled...or I no longer have the desire...or maybe because I have given up hoping that such desires could become a reality...or maybe I even know they won't be a reality (quick example: I will never play Major League Baseball.  However...maybe one day I can be a part of one of those cool but really expensive fantasy camps they have...you know, sometime before I am so old and fat I can't even move anymore...so with that in mind, I'd better find a way to do that very soon...).

Some of my desires have been good.  Some have been decidedly not good.  Some have been motivated purely out of my own selfishness.  Some have been motivated by my drive to care for and love my family...and others...

"But that of advancing Your glory."

God wants our desires to be subject to God's desires, God's plans, God's will.  We are not to pray, "Lord, please bless this thing I want to do" but rather "Lord, take away my desires for what I would want, and place in me a desire for what You would want."

God is incredibly loving and kind.  We would be surprised with how often we might find that when we let go of our desires and submit ourselves to God, God redeems and sanctifies what we let go of and gives us back  renewed, transformed desires that fit better than we could have ever imagined with who God has made us and is making us in Christ.  Psalm 37 applies here so well.

There was another Psalm in today's readings, however, that I'd like to conclude with a portion of and applies equally as well, especially for my own place in life's journey, and hopefully will help you in yours, as well:

Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

---Psalm 103:1-5


What's your desire today?  Who's motivating it?  How is God sanctifying your desires (making them holy and in accordance with God's will)?

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