Does God give me my heart’s desire?

Posted: January 21, 2010 in Bible, bible study, Christian, faith, love, Personal, wisdom, women
Tags: , , , ,

This is a response to a “God Question” from a friend. I hope you are blessed as we examine scripture together.

#2) Does anyone know the scripture reference that says “God does not bring a desire to your heart that he will not fulfill”

This is a teaching that has emerged from Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of our heart and make all your plans succeed.” An honest look at the context reveals that the promise you quoted is not supported by the text. The text does not say anything about God creating desires in someone heart. We must be very careful not to spiritualize the text such that we apply a meaning that was never intended lest we embrace a false teaching and miss the intended blessing.

This Psalm is a prayer for Israel’s king when he is called to defend himself and the nation in battle. And insomuch as David is a typecast for Christ we are justified in extending the application of the meaning to the church and the triumph of our Savior over his enemies. Setting the stage for this text we see that the king has been called into battle, that a prayer or song is composed to be presented at a sanctuary service on his behalf. After sacrifices were offered and accepted by God, the Levites (singers) and the congregation would join in the prayer of supplication for the king before he left for battle.

In applying this text to the church, it is the duty of all believers to gather together and intercede for the interests of Kingdom. We all experience distress and appeal to the power of our loving Father to protect us, rescue us and help us overcome the enemy whomever or whatever that may be. A final note, a man’s desires reveal his character. If a man loves the Lord, then his desires will reveal it. Righteous desires are always in agreement with God’s will as revealed in His Word, so we can be confident that when we contend for the faith, success is inevitable.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14

The errant teaching occurs when we make man the center of scripture; for instance, some teach that if I have a desire, because I am a Christian and I claim that “God gave me this desire”, God will make it happen. We all have evil and righteous desires, believers included. Am I to assume that because I claim the blood of Christ that God can be manipulated to achieve my will?! Of course not! God does not serve us, it is the other way around! Secondly, how do you know that God gave you that desire? Our faith is not based on arbitrary indulgences; we have an objective standard by which we can determine truth. The degree to which we know God and surrender to His will as revealed in Scripture, is the degree to which we will experience victory in our lives.

About these ads
Comments
  1. kellytyler says:

    That’s great, Nance! There are so many instances of us humans doing things, even “good” things and then presumptuously calling it “God’s plan” and asking him to bless it. Even worse, there are those who do that and then insist that other believers bless (i.e. fund) it. I love your point about making man the center of scripture (or worship, etc.). If it’s not all about Him, it’s not about Him at all! Thanks for the good word! :)

  2. jonolan says:

    It could also stem from Psalm 37:

    Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

    Of course one could also take either passage to mean that, if your desire is of your God, He will fulfill it. Neither passage seems to claim that all of your desires are of or from your God and will be fulfilled by Him.

  3. Servant says:

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

    I think the response was unfair and truly the believer may have not got the teaching correct. Surely one who delights in the Lord. The key meaning is in the word delight and the promise follows. He has not promised to gratify all our appetites, but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him. As we delight ourselves in Him the desires themselves come from God and so it follows why wouldn’t God fulfill the very desires he has placed in the heart of his servants. Remember we are new creatures in Christ, and AS WE WALK IN THE LIGHT AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT[delighting ourselves in Him] we cannot desire anything that is at enmity with God, but we also can desire nothing that God, with whose will our own is thoroughly blended in love, would refuse us. I think that question was awesome! I respectfully disagree with you Nance!

    • Nance says:

      We seem to agree on all points except one and it is a major one. Who is causing the desire? Can you support from the text your view that God causes desires apart from our will? Please explain. Because if God causes desires apart from our will then we are not accountable nor are we free and this contradicts what we know of the natures of God and man.

      Otherwise, my own heart and mind freely cause my desires for which I am fully accountable. And as such (here is where we agree) as the Holy Spirit transforms my heart in agreement with my will, my desires begin to agree with God’s, desires that God delights to fulfill.

      I would also like to address your statement that “Remember we are new creatures in Christ, and AS WE WALK IN THE LIGHT AS HE IS IN THE LIGHT[delighting ourselves in Him] we cannot desire anything that is at enmity with God, but we also can desire nothing that God, with whose will our own is thoroughly blended in love, would refuse us.” How can we truthfully claim that we desire nothing that is in enmity with God or that we desire nothing that God would refuse us? We are still in the flesh and our flesh has not been redeemed yet. We are still capable of sin and sinful desires. I wish to remind you of 1 John 1:8-10 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

  4. servant says:

    I do not subscribe to the thought that God places desires in our heart apart from our will. I do subscribe to the thought that he places desires in out hearts when we are yeilding our will to him. In effect you stated the same above.

    Concerning desiring nothing that is at enmity with God. I did not claim that we “never” desire anything that is at enmity with God. I see how you could attempt to infer that but your assertion fails in that I stated as “we walk in the Light as He is in the Light [delighting ourselves in Him]” That word ‘delight’ means to be ‘soft’ or ‘pliable’. By it I mean fully yielded, surrendered as to will, affections and purpose. We walk in the Light by faith. We delight ourselves in the Lord by faith.

    I am sure you would not argue that we sin 100% of the time. Surely we are not sinning when we are pleasing God. I also do not claim to be without sin. But I will say at times I am not sinning. I am not sinning when I am pleasing God. Example: When I acted in faith and obedience to follow Christ in baptism, I was not sinning in that act. We can find many examples of our lives when we are not sinning. That is not to say we never sin but that we at times do not sin. Not sure how you equated “not desiring anything that is at enmity with God” as being sinless. Perhaps you misunderstood. Perhaps you thought I meant we never have fleshly desires. Well then let me clear that up by saying, yes I agree with you, we all have and will have fleshly desire while we are in this body! Nuff said eh.

    Faith has its own objects, supplied by God Himself, and governs the heart with a view to those objects. It gives us a place and relationships which rule the whole life, and leave no room for other motives and other spheres of affection which would divide the heart; for the motives and affections which govern faith are given by God, and given by Him in order to form and govern the heart.

    Are we always yielding in Faith? No! But when we are …and He chooses to work in and through us His will is accomplished unhindered by our sinful flesh!

    • jonolan says:

      servant,

      I am unsure where you learned English. “Delight” has no definition, defined connotation, or relationship with “soft” or “pliable.

      Now, you could say that those who truly delight (take pleasure in) in their God and His favor and only in their God and His favor would have, as their heart’s desire, that which their God would grant them.

      It amounts the same, or nearly the same, thing.

    • Nance says:

      Servant-
      Either God is planting desries in our heart or not. If He does, then He does so apart from our will for He is the cause of the desire/idea. That is what planting is. You cannot have it both ways. Refer to the law of non-contradiction.

      “I see how you could attempt to infer that but your assertion fails in that I stated as “we walk in the Light as He is in the Light [delighting ourselves in Him]” That word ‘delight’ means to be ’soft’ or ‘pliable’.” First, I quoted you I did not infer anything. Go back and look at what you wrote. Secondly, you are adding text to the scripture that is not there. John doesn’t even use the word “delight” in any of his letters. Adding to the text and changing definitions to fit your view does not strengthen your argument, it yields it incongruous. But just to give you the benefit of the doubt, let’s examine the verse in context.

      1 John 1:5-10 states:
      5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from alla sin.
      8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

      The theme of this passage is a call to obedience, something allowable only because of our free will. If you notice in verse 6 it is possible to claim belief, and yet not walk in obedience. Thus our lives reveal our true beliefs and we are liars. This is a judgement that can only be assessed if God is judging our desires (which inevitably become actions) as originating from the person. We can only be held accountable if we are responsible, if we cause our own desires and actions. No where in this passage or even in all John’s letters does he teach that God plants desires.

      In reference to the Psalm passage, once again God grants desire of our heart because they are in agreement with his will. They are in agreement with his will because we delight in the Lord and in His Word from the context. This is not teaching that God is planting, but that God is granting.

      Now, if you wish to continue to contest this further, I request that you appeal to scripture and exegete it to demonstrate support for your view. This will cause us to focus on the objective standard that has been provided for us so that we can seek the truth in all things rather than appeal to arbitrary suppositions.

  5. jonolan says:

    Nance,

    This is almost beginning to sound like Socrates’ Euthyphro Dilemma.

    Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?

    • Nance says:

      Close but not quite, because as I understand Socrates and his philosphical method, he was pushing Euthyphro to define the essence of good, while Euthyphro would only give him characteristics of good. As Christians, Servant and I already agree on the essence of good. Our discussion is more epistemological than metaphysical. It is more of a flushing out who or what is the source of human ideas.

  6. Servant says:

    Woah there Nance…..First:

    I never used the word “plant”…that is your word. I think what I wrote was the word placed and I never said he does it against our will. In fact I stated it is when our will is yielded to him.

    Second:

    I was simply quoting a part of scripture in John and in brackets placing [delighting....]! I simply stated that when walk in the light and we are delighting ourselves in him…..and I will defend that we are delighting ourselves in him when we walk in the light else we likely would not be walking in the light. Now I am not a prophet and my words are not God’s words unless I am quoting the scripture verbatim….and I did not do that ..as there are brackets around my part of the statement. Now if you want to argue that I am adding to the scriptures you can do so ….but It was not my intention to do so and I am humbled by the accusations and yielded to your admonishment.

    Concerning the inference….I took issue with you drawing and inference that I would in any way claim to be sinless. I just cannot see where you could draw that inference from especially since in subsequent post I state to the contrary.

    If one is saved one is a new creature in Christ. Everything that is Good in us from that point is from God and not ourselves. All the work of Goodness in us is God working in us. If our desires are of faith and righteous and good …can we really say they are our own or are they given by God?

    • Nance says:

      ” If our desires are of faith and righteous and good …can we really say they are our own or are they given by God?”

      This begs the question. How does one know which desires are of faith and righteousness and good? We cannot claim they all are, you just conceded that. And no, it does not follow that if they are good they are given by God. I think we pointed out before that we have both good and bad desires, before Christ and after salvation. What changes is the eternal value of said good desires. But to say that the good desires are given by God is an inaccurate translation of the scripture and removes the will of man from the equation (a regenerated will, but man’s nonetheless).

  7. Servant says:

    jonolan:

    The Hebrew word translated delight in the old testament at Psalm 37:4 is as follows:

    anag pronounced aw-nag A Hebrew primitive root meaning to be soft or pliable

  8. Servant says:

    Nancequote: “But to say that the good desires are given by God is an inaccurate translation of the scripture and removes the will of man from the equation (a regenerated will, but man’s nonetheless).”

    What it appears you are saying here is you have revelation of the meaning of God’s word and I do not. I have a difficult time taking serious, those who claim exclusive understanding of God’s word.

    And I did not imply that God removes man’s will.

    –A will yielded to God is not a will removed or overpowered, but a will submitted and empowered to do that which pleases God–

    Nancequote: “And no, it does not follow that if they are good they are given by God. I think we pointed out before that we have both good and bad desires, before Christ and after salvation.”

    You pointed that out; I had no part in it. The scriptures do not support this assertion that man has good desires in him before Christ. And it seems clear enough for me that Paul states there is nothing good in Him even after regeneration, EXCEPT THAT IT COMES FROM GOD.

    For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (Rom 7:18 KJV)

    That is, in his flesh, or carnal self; for otherwise there were many good things dwelt in him; there was the good work of grace, and the good word of God in him, and even Father, Son, and Spirit, dwelt in him; but his meaning is, that there was no good thing naturally in him; no good thing of his own putting there; nothing but what God had put there; no good thing, but what was owing to Christ, to the grace of God, and influence of the Spirit; or as he himself explains it, there was no good thing in his “flesh”; in the old man that was in him, which has nothing in his nature good; no good thing comes out of him, nor is any good thing done by him: and this explanative and limiting clause, “that is, in my flesh”, clearly proves, that the apostle speaks of himself, and as regenerate; for had he spoke in the person of an unregenerate man, there would have been no room nor reason for such a restriction, seeing an unregenerate man is nothing else but flesh, and has nothing but flesh, or corrupt nature in him; and who does not know, that no good thing dwells in such persons? whereas the apostle intimates by this explication, that he had something else in him beside flesh, and which is opposed to it; and that is spirit, or the new man, which is of a spiritual nature, and is seated in the spirit, or soul, and comes from the Spirit of God; and in this spiritual man dwells good things, for “the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” [Eph 5:9] KJV; so that though there was no good thing dwelling in his flesh, in the old than, yet there were good things dwelling in his spirit, in the new and spiritual man, the hidden man of the heart.

    “FOR TO WILL IS PRESENT WITH ME” …Paul is speaking here not of the power and faculty of the will, with respect to things natural and civil, which is common to all men; nor of a will to that which is evil, which is in wicked men; but of a will to that which was good, which he had not of himself, but from God, and is only to be found in regenerate persons; and denotes the readiness of his mind and will to that which is spiritually good.

    • ambitiousheart says:

      Servant:

      I was doing some research on my own discernment of God’s will in my own life. I believe, in essence, you and Nance have said the same things but in different words and disagreement of definitions.

      Furthermore, I truly believe above all else, the missing piece to this, is praying for Discernment and Wisdom, which God has asked us to do in order to be led by his truths, thus his ability to grant us the Graces and Mercy he has in store for us. It’s true also that many times when we have these “good” desires of the heart when we are fully devoted, our seeking out of his will and leading, will come upon us with the peace we know we have in him and what we see as being our desires and his Will for us. (It’s in my own life experience, when we fully yield to our Lord, we can only be deceived if we are not listening to him and committing to our desire to serve him). This is where we can strike up some arguments; remember, although basic principal is there, God does speak to each of us, and leads us uniquely; which is what I have found to be so profound in our individual relationships with Him) What a Gift he has given us and if we just take some time to discern, we can find peace in knowing that we have the desire to seek out the truth.

      These debates are interesting to me and though this post was done some time ago, I hope that what I have added, is delivered to you. Satan does have the power to use tactics such as making us believe our desires are “good” and will do what he can to entice and brainwash. However, as I have seen in my own life, nothing can break the power of our Lord Jesus and therefore, we will always know when we are being led correctly :) This includes this subject of whether or not our desires are put there by God. In some manner, I believe that when we are truly “devoted followers of Christ”, not half in and half out, we can be assured that the desires we have that are not in HIM, will not last as long as we are on the straight and narrow :) I love this! I have tested it myself and it’s great stuff! So, when in doubt, ask him, and he will show you.

      I also want to point out, that many times, I have heard stories from other Christian friends or on Christian broadcasts, that when we “think” we are hearing from God, due to a specific desire, we find out that it was our “self” desires instead. However, these particular Christians have found that while serving in the church or doing whatever they feel God is calling them to do, Its in actions only they thought they were doing their part. When what they were NOT doing is what God was calling their attention to. Hence, being mislead and coerced by the enemy. Often times, we feel a bit of “entitlement” for reward, when it comes to service. This is indication that we are forgetting to spend time in Him, in prayer and devotion, as well as fellowship with other Christians, regularly.

      In closing, if what I mentioned was brought forth in later thread, I apologize. When I hear God speak, I try to address it because I learn something from what is being said by all. Thank you all for your posts.

      ambitiousheart

      • servant says:

        Thank you for your insight ambitiousheart. I appreciate your viewpoint. I am His new creation, being made in the image of God’s Son; and though I am not perfected yet I know I will be when He’s done!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s