Our Heart's Desires
We were created with the ability to dream and plan. And when our desires are submitted to the Lord, they add to the excitement of our Christian walk. But how do we distinguish between our own desires and God-given ones? And what should we do when our dreams aren't fulfilled?
1. God plants desires in our hearts.
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart." Does this passage mean that the Father gives us whatever we want? No. We all recognize that not every desire is biblical or Christlike. And even good goals can be wrong for a particular individual.
- What righteous desire did David have (2 Sam. 7:1-2)?
- Why did God deny its fulfillment (2 Sam. 7:4-7, 12-13)?
As David learned, one way to distinguish our desires from God-given ones is to follow the Lord's guidance.
- What do think the Father wants for you? Why do you believe this desire is from Him and not just from yourself?
2. The fulfillment of our desires often requires that we wait.
What should you do when your dreams don't come to fruition? Surrender the yearning to the Lord. In other words, commit to love and serve Him, even if your wish never comes to pass.
- In New Testament times, the cross was a symbol of torture and death. What else did Jesus tell His disciples it would come to mean in their lives (Luke 9:23-24)?
- How can "carrying a cross" relate to waiting on the fulfillment of a particular dream?
- How can surrender help a person wait on God's promise?
The Lord also prepares us for His blessing as we wait. For instance, God may have a young pastor practice leadership in smaller congregations before trusting him with a large international ministry.
- How much time did Paul spend alone, learning from the Spirit, before beginning his ministry (Gal. 1:13-23)?
- In the pursuit of one of your desires, has the Lord allowed you to build character or skills in small, progressive steps? If so, how has this helped prepare the way for your dream's fulfillment?
Sometimes, waiting prompts us to give up hope regarding a specific want or need.
- When Lazarus died, his sisters stopped expecting a miracle. What purpose did Jesus have for His delay (John 11:30-45)?
- Why do you think God sometimes allows people to give up hope before He acts?
3. The fulfillment of our desire is often much different than we anticipated.
Sometimes our ideas of the future contrast sharply with reality.
- What did James and John predict regarding Christ's reign (Mark 10:35-37)?
- Describe leadership in Christ's kingdom (Mark 10:42-45).
- In what ways has the fulfillment of your desires been different from what you expected?
4. Even after our desires are fulfilled, our hope must remain in the Lord.
Earthly things—even the realization of God-given dreams—were never meant to satisfy us. While they can be enjoyed and appreciated as gifts from our heavenly Father, we must be careful not to look to them for ultimate fulfillment and joy.
- In Isaiah 41:15-16, removing hills and threshing mountains is a metaphor for military victory over Gentile kings. What would be the source of the people's joy at that time?
- How can you apply that perspective to waiting on a particular dream's fulfillment?
- What did the psalmist find in the presence of the Lord (Ps. 16:11)?
- Can you relate to his attitude? Why or why not?
5. What if we believe that God gave us a desire but never granted it?
There are a couple of factors here. One is the possibility that you simply need to continue waiting.
Second, you may have mistaken your own desire for a God-given one. Our wishes can be so strong that we think we have heard the Lord, when in actuality, we've been misled by our own longing.
- What did God reveal about why He chose to not answer Paul's petition (2 Cor. 12:8-10)?
Sometimes it's hard to tell whether you misunderstood God's guidance or you're in a holding pattern until His blessing arrives. But in either case, your response should be the same: surrender everything to the Lord. Commit to love and obey Him even if He never fulfills your longings. Reaffirm that your joy is in God, not in the achievement of your dreams. If your desires are really from the Lord, He will eventually bring them to fruition if you remain obedient to Him. Whatever you do, don't attempt to realize your dreams without the Lord's involvement.
- What were the consequences when Abram and Sarai tried to produce an heir instead of waiting for the fulfillment of God's promise (Gen. 16:1-12)?
Conclusion: The Lord delights in blessing His people with their hearts' desires. Take time to ask Him what the future holds for you. Then commit to obeying God, and watch for the realization of His promises.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me desires and the blessing of their fulfillment in Your time. Help me discern between my longings and Your voice. I ask for the grace to surrender all my dreams to You. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
The Desires of Your Heart
You've been waiting so long, and you wonder, will God really give me the desires of my heart? (Listen to The Desires of Your Heart.)