Desires, Wants, and Needs
Have all the desires of your heart been fulfilled? Do you get what you always want? Or do you have what you need? Of course, for most of us, the answer is a resounding, No! We don’t think all our desires are granted and certainly don’t receive all the things we want. But, the bigger question is, do you have what you need? If you feel negative about all these questions maybe it is time to ”lift up thine eyes.”
In 1957, Norman Rockwell completed a painting titled, Lift Up Thine Eyes. Rockwell stated that he was showing the America he knew and observed, to others who might not have noticed. In this painting, he depicts New Yorkers with hunched shoulders and downcast eyes passing St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street. The people trudge along among the noise and business of the city while a male figure posts the message, ”Lift up thine eyes” on a board by the portal doors ”“ a cynical comment on the loss of religious faith in America.
Each person in the painting is so caught up in their own thoughts, problems, and life that no one looks up. Many appear gloomy, rushed, and depressed as some carry briefcases appearing as cumbersome weights of stone. Yet above, the magnificent cathedral soars heavenward with carved doors and sculptures of prophets, apostles, and martyrs. In the center portal, sits Jesus Christ, on His throne while a multitude of white doves flutters around in celebration. It seems that often we get so caught up in our lives today that we too, forget to ”lift up our eyes” to the only one that can supply the desires of our heart.
Sometimes life is so hard, the cracks on the sidewalk are all it seems we can focus on, but if we want to see our lives change and our attitude improve then it is heavenward that we must look. Submitting ourselves to God is the only way that He can grant us what we really need. As we draw close to Him, we learn to trust Him to fulfill our heart’s desires.
But this is not an easy submission and too often we use our prayers in vain attempts to create a magic vending machine, turn our Creator into a genie that stands by waiting to grant our every wish, or maybe worse; think that our desires aren’t important enough to come to God for. So, we ask for the wrong things, the wrong reasons, or don’t ask at all. But it is only when we approach God openly by praying that our desires align with His will for our life that we see things differently. For the things we thought we needed for the ”good life,” shift as we realize that with Christ, we already hold the ”good life.”
Just Give Me Jesus
It is important that we look to the rich bounty of God to fulfill our heart’s desires. When we seek our desires at the cost of pleasing the world or the expense of obeying God we lose out at every angle. No matter what we may think, we truly need nothing beyond Christ. For like the song, Just Give Me Jesus says, ”In the morning when I rise, When I am alone, and When I come to die; Give me Jesus. You can have all this world. Just Give Me Jesus.”
This is all we truly need, so when we feel our heart’s desires are not met let us do two things, remember all we truly need is Christ and know that our desires will not be fulfilled if we do not come to Him.
Yet, you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. James 4:2c (NLT)
Asking for the Right Things
So, you may be thinking, but I do ask, and I don’t get what I want. Sometimes this is true, for the ways of God are higher than our ways. But if you obey and do what is pleasing to God you will receive what you need. As you develop your relationship with the Creator, you will begin to ask for the things that are in line with the will of God. Seeking knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, and understanding helps deepen your bond with Christ and grows your trust. With your trust held tightly in hand, you can reach a plateau of peace that supersedes your wants.
There are also some things you simply learn that shouldn’t be asked if you are seeking His will. Jesus’ statement, ”Ask and you will receive,” (Matthew 7:7), is not a blank check. For your desires must be in harmony with the principles of God’s kingdom. The stronger your faith, the more likely your prayer is in line with God’s will. You must stay attached to Christ as he directs, much like a branch to the vine. It is more than a life of just doing the right thing or being ”good.”
The most powerful prayers said are the ones that you allow God to change your desires, so they not only become but align to His will for you. So, challenge yourself to seek God’s will instead of your own or the world’s dictated desires. Be convicted in knowing that the stronger your faith, the more powerful your prayers become as you correspond to His will. Find your motivation in knowing that He desires for you to have a pleasure-filled life of His grace that comes from a deep relationship with Him. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of His love that He pours out in abundance as He desires the best for you.
Love in Christ,
A missionary in Brazil visited a market town on a religious holiday and saw a sale sign in a store’s window advertising, ”Cheap Crosses for Sale.” We may look for cheap crosses ”“ no sacrifice, no commitment, no cost, no pain ”“ but there is no such thing. Jesus’ disciples have to follow the way of the cross.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Have you aligned your heart’s desires with the will of God? Do you remember to ask in order to receive? Share your thoughts on how a relationship with God changes the desires of your heart and fills your life with peace.