Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chief Desire

"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:" Psalm 37:3-5

The more I study this Psalm the more insight I gain into the relationship between desire and temptation. And make no mistake, there is a strong relationship! Temptation happens at the intersection of your desire and your will. If you have no desire for something then you can't be tempted by it. It really is that simple. For the most part, people end up doing what they most desire to do.

So, that is why desire matters and that's why if you have any hopes of defeating temptation you must be in touch with and in charge of your desires.

But this morning, the issue I want to address is this, what should you desire? The answer is simple - you should desire what God desires. Or even better than that, you should desire God! God should be your chief desire! The fact is, unless God is your chief desire - HE IS NOT YOUR GOD!

So what is it that God desires and what do we need to desire in order for Him to be our God? The Psalmist mentions three things. 

But for now I want to focus like a laser on your chief desire. What is it? Is there something you desire more than you desire God? Do you love God because He is your chief desire or do you love Him hoping that He get you what you desire? Are you serving Him or are you trying to get Him to serve you? Only you - (and Him) - know the true answer to that. And ultimately you will answer to Him for that.

As I conclude this thought for this morning I want to tie together several statements that I have made during this series on temptation. First, "we are tempted because we are sinners and we sin because we're tempted". In other words, when our desires are wrong and when our desires are not lined up with God we will be tempted more! Second, "temptation is a test that reveals what we love most". What you desire will be exposed by how you are tempted and where you yield to temptation.

Adam sinned at the moment God ceased to be his chief desire. 

Jesus resisted sin because God was His chief desire! 

How about you?

The "Good" Thing

"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:" Psalm 37:3-5

Temptation happens at the point of your desire. That is abundantly clear in the temptation of Adam and Eve as it is in the temptation of Jesus. Adam and Eve were controlled by their desire and sinned against God. Jesus controlled His desire and remained sinless. So, it seems that you are confronted with an option, "either you control your desires or your desires will control you". Therein lies the battle of temptation. Will you be controlled by your emotions or will you exercise your will to control your emotions?

There are some who believe you cannot control your desires and that you are a slave to them. No thanks to Adam and Eve, it is difficult to gain control over your desires. Once they exercised their will against God it perverted their desires. That is the nature we inherit from them.

So, how do you get control of your desires? How do we keep your desires from controlling you? The Psalmist, who is very open about his struggles to gain control over his desires, shares some insight into how he does it.

"Trust in the Lord"The word for "trust" means to "lean on" or to "rely on" or to "put confidence in" God. The word picture portrayed is the idea of putting your total trust into God. It is like when you sit in a chair. You put your total weight into that chair and completely trust it. When you put the key in your car you totally trust it to start. When you lie down on your bed you totally trust it to support you. You must "trust, rely, lean on" God to help you control your desires. By the power of your will you choose to aim your emotions at God.

"do good"When you place your trust completely on the Lord He will guide you and strengthen you to "do good". Notice it does not say that you should desire to do good, it simply says to "do good". People who are controlled by their emotions and desires will only "do good" when they feel like it. But people who control their desires do good whether they feel like it or not!

Jesus probably didn't feel like dying on the cross. But he "did the good" that His Father desired of Him. Jesus probably felt like turning those stones into bread - partly because He was very hungry and partly because he wanted to show the devil that He really could after the devil challenged His "godhood". How do you feel when someone challenges your manhood? You want to show them, don't you? Imagine being God and having some inferior being challenge your "godhood".

So, here it is. Another day, another battle with temptation. Temptation will be there to meet you at your point of desire and you will either control your desire or be controlled by it. You can trust your own strength to take charge over your emotions or you can rely on God and trust Him to help you do good.

The first "good" thing you can do today is to put Him in charge of your emotions AND your will!