Matthew 6:19-21 (MSG)
Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Every person ever created has needs, wants and desires. A need is something required or a necessity. It is a duty or obligation. Food, shelter and clothing are basic needs. Need influences what we want. We need food but we want steak. We need shelter but we want a nice house with a picket fence and good schools. We need clothes to cover our body, but want massive closets of options right down to a particular outfit for a special occasion. Needs and wants are often confused. Wants are escalated needs that become clothed in adjectives. Living in America, most people have what they need and only want more. We are a blessed country where even those incarcerated for the most heinous of crimes are cared for better than many innocent people alive and well in the world. It is our needs and wants that create and motivate our desires. Desire is a longing or craving for deep satisfaction of what we need and want in life. It is a powerful influence that if not managed properly can lead the most devout Christian straight to hell. Who wants to heart that? I do. I want to be satisfied. I want to be content and complete in life. Every desire I have leads to something, somewhere. All things are permissible in the life of a believer. But not all things are beneficial. (I Corinthians 10:23)
The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. When need and want become a desire it begins to shape our life. We are motivated and fueled by that which we desire the most. I have more today than I did twenty years ago. I have more family, more money, more things, more confidence and more wisdom. Yet, I still have desires. Oh, don’t get me wrong I am thankful oh so thankful for the blessings in my life. But the “things” I have even the people do not meet the desires of my heart. We bought our house more than a decade ago. It was brand new. Over time, wear and tear (namely five kids and two dogs) have dulled its once pristine condition but what I have discovered is that even though it was better than I ever thought possible and more perfect than I could have dreamed of and even though I know that God gave it to us – it is still not perfect. The light in the nook is off center. The faucet in one bathroom is not flush. There are other tiny imperfections that I have noticed living in and cleaning our house. There is nothing in this world that can satisfy us completely but Jesus Christ. The eternity in our heart cannot and will not be content with anything less than God’s Glorious Standard of Living. Heaven is a beautiful place. We long for it because we are from there. No place we land will ever be Heaven. As a child, I thought my grandparent’s home was Heaven on earth. It was a sanctuary and shelter for two children caught up in divorce. But over time with maturity, I realized that it was just a house when they both went home to be with the Lord. It was their spirits that changed the atmosphere. Needs and wants are part of life. It is my desire that controls my destiny.
Psalm 73:24-26 (NLT)
You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
I desire you more than anything on earth. Do you? Do I? When we take our needs and wants to Jesus because we desire Him more than anything else – He takes them through the Blood cleaning them and then shapes them according to the Word of God to perform the Will of God which will lead us into the Glorious Standard of Living forfeited by sin. Some of our wants will not make it through the process deemed unacceptable for His Precious Ones and will be replaced with something better. Many will forego this process in fear that what is required may be more than they are willing to give thus accepting the things of this world as counterfeits. The Lord will only lead us by His Counsel to a glorious destiny. He will never settle for less than His Best and we as His People will not be satisfied until His Glory reaches our life.
When our son became sick – we discovered that we had excellent insurance. However, with changes in the government the second year around the time of his first relapse the premium increased more than four times. We were forced to lower our coverage and believe God because not treating cancer was not an option. Our son would fight cancer five times in three years. My spirit did grow weak. The third time I received the devastating news that it was back, I literally fell to my knees telling God I cannot do this anymore. The insurance company finally decided that enough was enough and when experimental treatment was the only option threw in the towel with five denials. I had no control. I could not provide what was needed. I could not do what we wanted. I just crawled into His Presence and shoved it all over to God. I was done. My strength was gone. My heart broken. My spirit failing. You know what, God did it. He endured three more rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant to enter remission. My needs can be temporarily met but it is not guaranteed. My wants may or may not be satisfied by the things of this world, but it is not constant. We think we have it all together carefully managing our life, but what happens when those privileged enough to have their needs met and most of their wants can no longer provide it for themselves. It can happen to anyone and will happen to most of us in the process of working out our salvation.
James 1:13-15 (NLT)
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
I have shared the story before of asking my grandfather for a fancy car when I was sixteen. I loved that car. I wanted it so much I was convinced I needed it. My grandfather loved my brother and I so much that he would do just about anything for us. I remember my grandpa looking at the car and walking around it several times silently. He looked at me and said, “Sweetheart, I want to give you this car but I know that if I do it will ruin you.” I wonder how many times we come to the Throne of God with a long list of demands thinking that He will give us anything we ask and the Lord knows this so He withholds it from us. We become like petulant children storming away determined to get it or make it happen for ourselves. God never tempts His Children. He is a Good Father who wants only the very best for us. Temptation comes from our sinful desires. Those things that we think we need or want that do not line up to the Word, Will or Way of God. The Lord will never give us anything that goes against one of these three things. Sin gives birth to death. My kid may want a rattlesnake but that doesn’t mean I am going to give him one. Sin is that dangerous and deadly to us. Anything we desire more than Christ has the potential to lead us away from Him.
Romans 6:12-13 (NLT)
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.
Sinful desires don’t have to be harmful to be detrimental. Needs disguised as wants cause us to make foolish choices. The Lord provides everything we need not just to survive but thrive. Those who seek Him will have more than enough and succeed in everything they do. If this is not reminiscent of our life, it means that we have some unsurrendered wants and needs now driven by sinful desires. We all deal with sin every day. Don’t try to be all righteous. Christ is our righteousness. It can only be found in Him. Anything we say or do contrary to the Word of God is sin. There is no hierarchy of sin that allows those who do a little better than others to live in the Goodness and Glory of God. We are all in this together. We must live clothed in Christ to experience true contentment and satisfaction. (Romans 13:14)We must live as temporary residents according to the Kingdom not the law of the land. (I Peter 2:11) We have all we need to live a godly life which means a glorious life. (2 Peter 1:3-4) So what’s the problem?
Mark 4:18-20 (NLT)
The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
Guilty as charged. There are days when God’s Word falls on a hard heart that is too crowded with the needs, wants, cares, worries, and concerns for this life that keep its fruit from growing. I am the problem when God’s Word and His Will are not manifesting in my life. At the Cross, I was given the promise and potential to prosper. My selfish desires get in the way sometimes. Every day I must nail them to the Cross and let Him take over again. (Galatians 5:24-25)
Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Galatians 5:17 (NLT)
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
We have everything we need to live a godly life. By allowing God’s Word and His Spirit to access our needs, wants and desires molding them and shaping them – we will live the glorious destiny promised to us. It may not look like what we wanted but it will satisfy our heart each and every time. I must release my desires to the Lord every day. I must be overwhelmed with a desire for His Word for it shows me the way. (Psalm 119:18-20) You will never satisfy human desire. (Proverbs 27:20) But God will satisfy our heart and Jesus fulfill His Purpose of giving us a rich and satisfying life if we make Him our one and only desire.
2 Timothy 4:3-5 (NLT)
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
Why does it matter? It matters to our faith. We live in the end times. Preaching is sometimes convoluted. Seeker sensitive churches make it difficult to discern our own will from God’s Plan. It is up to me to rightly discern my life according to the Word of God and His Spirit. I must decide if I desire God or this world and live like it every day. I must make up my mind and remind my soul or risk losing it all because of an accepted lie or myth due to ignorance. Salvation is an individual pursuit decided in each human heart. We all have natural and sinful desires that must be crucified day by day until all that we desire is Jesus. Those who do will be satisfied now and forevermore. Our mission must be – “The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
Jude 17-21 (NLT)
But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.