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"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Ps. 37:4).

The Lord says in Psalms 37:4 that He "will give you the desires of your heart." I want you to see that this has a two-fold understanding. First of all, it means that God will fulfill, or bring to pass, those desires resident in your heart. But it also means if you are delighting yourself in Him, He actually deposits into your heart right desires.

Desire Is God's Primary Avenue to Reveal His Will
These desires are the primary avenue God uses to reveal His will for your life. And, yet, they have been the most undervalued and overlooked avenue of all. We are more familiar with and rely on what we refer to as the "peace of God" or the "inward witness."

Because we haven't realized "desire" as being God's primary avenue in which He directs us, we have a tendency to view our desires as being selfish or self-serving. I know in my own life, I've done this on many occasions and God has chastened me for it. There have been several times when I had a strong desire to do something, and I talked myself out of responding to my desire because I couldn't justify it in terms of ministry or time constraints.

I'll give you an example. I don't like to travel. I'm content to stay right here. My wife, Lynne, is always after me to go here or there. But I don't have a desire to go anywhere...especially overseas.

There was a prayer ministry conference that was to be held in Israel and Lynne was one of the scheduled speakers. Coincidentally, I had to do some church business in Israel at the same time, so I made plans to go to the conference with Lynne.

A month before the conference, the church business I had in Israel fell through and so I canceled my trip. When I canceled my plans to go to Israel, I suddenly realized I still had a desire to go even though I no longer had a reason for going. That's never happened to me before. I realized this desire to go to Israel was from God.

All my life, I've measured whether I should do something or not by whether I could find a valid ministry reason for doing it, or if I could make it work into my schedule. As a result, I've missed the will of God for my life on several occasions.

One time when I was in prayer, the Lord said to me, "Do you not believe and have you not preached that if you delight yourself in Me that I author the desires you have in your heart?" I said, "Yes, Lord." He said, "Am I your first love? Do you seek Me? Are all your ways committed unto Me?" Again, I said, "Yes, Lord." He responded, "Then the desire you feel is there by My Spirit for the purpose of directing you in the decisions you make."

Delighting Yourself in the Lord
People ask me, "How can I know for sure the desire I have is from God and not just my own desire?" The only way you can be assured your desires are from God is by something called, "delighting yourself in the Lord." The Word says if you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.

What does it mean to "delight in the Lord?" Verse 5, right after Psalms 37:4, gives us the definition of delight. It says, "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." He will bring "what" to pass? He will bring to pass the desires of your heart. Verse 5 is saying essentially the same thing as verse 4, so we see that "delighting yourself in the Lord" can be defined as "committing your way unto the Lord."

Committing your way unto the Lord means your greatest interest is to walk out the will of God for your life. He is your priority. You've committed all your resource, your time, your finances...your whole life to Him. When you have committed your way to the Lord, then you can be assured that the desires in your heart are from God. They are God's direction for your life.

Unfortunately, there are believers who are merely "weekend" Christians. They go to church on Sunday morning and then live their lives for themselves Monday through Saturday. They don't "delight" in the Lord. But rather they delight in such things as hobbies or watch hours and hours of TV every night. They use their time pursuing other things instead of God. These people would have no confidence or assurance that the desires in their heart are from God.

Desire Is the Foundation for Success
It's vital we understand how important desire is in our lives, because desire is where the initial thrust of behavior stems from. You cannot be consistent in any kind of behavior if you do not have the desire to do it. When people lack the desire to change their behavior in a certain area and try to modify their behavior through a legalistic, disciplined effort, their flesh will eventually get weary and they will ultimately fail.

Consistency and success are a product of how badly you want something. This truth is evident even in the world. Take, for instance, the field of athletics. When two teams are basically equal in talent, it's hard to judge which one will win the game. In such cases, you usually hear about the winning team, "Well, they won because they wanted it the most."

Desire is the root of all consistent behavior and is the very foundation of success. The person who has the most intense desire for something will succeed in obtaining it.

Missionary John G. Lake made a statement about desire that had a great impact on me. He said when a desire becomes paramount in a man's heart...when everything else ranks insignificant by comparison...when it flames white hot...it will come to pass because it is a law of God!

We see this truth throughout the Word. We see it in the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18. She kept asking the judge, "avenge me of mine adversary." The judge granted her request because he saw her desire was "white hot," and he knew she would never stop pestering him about it.

James 5:16 puts it this way: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." It is the white, hot fervent prayer that avails much.

A fervent desire will come to pass. It is a law of God.

Desire Must Be White Hot!
So if success has eluded you on a particular level - vocationally, financially, physically, relationally - then I would suggest to you that your desire in that area is not white hot. There have been a number of times when I've had people in my office counseling them about why they aren't achieving the success they want for their life. After talking with them a while, the reason becomes obvious to me. I tell them, "Man, you don't want it bad enough."

They tell me, "Oh you're wrong, Pastor. I do want success. I want promotions. I want to go all the way to the top of the ladder." I'm sure they do want all those things, but they are not willing to sacrifice anything to obtain it. They don't want to pay the price. Their desire doesn't burn hot enough to overcome the laziness or lethargy of the flesh.

This truth applies to spiritual things as well. Let me tell you something: every person I know who got their healing by faith was aflame with the desire to be healed. I've known people who were diagnosed with a terminal illness. They wanted healing but they didn't want to make the effort spiritually to do what was necessary to obtain their healing. They weren't willing to be focused... bore sighted...single minded...totally and utterly fanatical about getting healed. Sadly, I've never known any of those people to receive their healing.

They "did" have a desire to be healed but it didn't flame "white hot" enough inside them to compel them to do what was necessary to obtain healing. I'll say it again: desire is the foundation of all achievement and success, because it is a law of God.

How Can You Intensify Your Desires?
Let's talk about the desires that God has birthed in your heart and what you can do to turn up the intensity of those desires. There are three things you can do.

1. Experience
First of all, desire is and can be intensified through experience. If you experience something that is pleasurable or beneficial for you, often times it will create a desire in you for more of the same. Each time you repeat the experience, the desire for it increases.

Take for instance, your prayer times with God. Many people tell me, "I never experience what others say they've experienced in prayer. My times with God are dry. I don't have a desire to pray." Eventually the time they devote to God in prayer dwindles down to nothing.

This used to be true for my life, as well. But I found out that if you keep sowing, you'll reap a harvest. Your dry times may continue for a season, but if you consistently pray every day, there will come a time when the presence of God will overwhelm you. The next thing you know, you're looking forward to your next devotional time with God. These repeated experiences in prayer will create and intensify a desire in you for devotional times with God.

2. Meditation
The second way to increase desire is through the mind or the imagination. A good example of imagination (or our capacity to mentally image something), impacting our behavior is in Genesis with the people building the tower of Babel. It says, And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do (Gen. 11:6).

Even though they were an unregenerate people, the Bible says they were not restrained in what they "imagined" to do.

God told Joshua in 1:8, This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Joshua was to meditate, or think about, God's laws day and night. For what purpose? So he could observe "to do" the law. As you meditate on and think about the God-given desires in your heart, it will produce right behavior. Meditating on those God-given desires will increase the desire, making it white hot.

I'll give you an example of how both experience and mentally imaging created a desire in me. When I was in the Air Force, I had some friends who were really into handball. They kept asking me to play. I didn't want to but they kept after me so I did. Initially, the first few times I played I didn't have much of a desire for it. But then I kept losing...which I hate. So I started to meditate on how to be a better handball player. I'd think about strategies and tactics that would improve my game. I began to win some of the games and that repeated experience created in me a desire for handball. The next thing I knew, I was the one who was rounding up games!

3. Praying in the Holy Ghost
The third thing that will intensify a God-given desire is the Holy Ghost. The prophet John said about Jesus in Luke 3:16, "...he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Fire! That's white, hot desire!

As you pray in the Holy Ghost, the will of God will be revealed to you. And as you set your sail and continue in prayer, the Holy Spirit will intensify your desire to do His will. You may not understand mentally the things you're praying about, but you don't need to understand. By faith, say to the Lord, "I'm believing for the desire that represents your will for my life to be turned up. I don't want my desires to be lukewarm. Make 'em hot, Lord."

Just because God has shown you what His will is for your life doesn't mean it will come to pass automatically. There is a price to pay. You're not going to be able to be a couch potato and expect success to come to you without any effort on your part. Success is gotten by those who are willing to invest their life in the pursuit of whatever God has put on their heart. They pay the price. They detest lukewarmness. And so must you.

Closing:
Finally, learn to be more sensitive to the desires of your heart. Don't be so quick to discard them as being selfish or self-serving. If you are a sold-out committed Christian, that desire is most likely God's will for your life. Step out in faith and respond to those desires. As you do, you'll begin to flow in the perfect will of God for your life.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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