Self desire vs. God's desire


More times than not we will follow after that which we desire. It may be best to see to it that we comprehend the goodness of God and desire it each day. This means we begin each day with prayer to help set our hearts and minds upon God thus seeking to fulfill the great commandment, but also to desire God's righteous character to be within our desires and thoughts.

Psalm 40:6 Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.

Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Matthew 12:7 But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

Psalm 107:30 Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.

Psalm 145:19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

Proverbs 10:24 The fear of the wicked will come upon him, And the desire of the righteous will be granted.

Proverbs 11:23 The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Proverbs 18:1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.

Proverbs 21:25 The desire of the lazy man kills him, For his hands refuse to labor.

Proverbs 23:3 Do not desire his delicacies, For they are deceptive food.

Proverbs 24:1 Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them;

Isaiah 1:29 For they shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees Which you have desired; And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens Which you have chosen.

Isaiah 26:9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

Ezekiel 11:21 But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.

Matthew 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Matthew 20:27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave

Mark 4:19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

Prayer of repentance psalm 51

Psalm 51:6
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Powerless is a widely used term within 12 step programs. The main focus of the first step is to admit we are powerless. Yet it is often misunderstood. When we think of powerless we might envision someone without self-control, strength, or intelligence. This is not the case. Instead, we have applied our self-control, strength, and intelligence toward sinful, selfish, and destructive desires. The idea behind accepting that we are powerless is to open our minds toward a new way of life, God’s way. We admit that our way of doing things is not the best. We become willing to try new things, get out of ourselves, and seek God. The idea behind admitting powerlessness is understanding our maladjusted methods toward life fall short of God's design. God has better ideas for us, but our dependency on our maladjusted methods make us powerless. When we rely upon our self-knowledge instead of God we become stuck. We are instructed to deny ourselves, the part that relies on the world and selfishness, through God's grace of humility. 

Luke 1:52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

We must humble ourselves to rely more and more upon God. Some other words frequently used in the bible are: follow, serve, obey, trust, believe, seek, listen, wait, worship, and fear (reverent). Read all about it here

Luke 4:6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’

Temptations are all around misinforming us about success and happiness. We can get so caught up in our own wants and expectations that we forget we are to choose to be God’s servants. Life as a servant of God is choosing to rid ourselves of our selfish attitude. Our will is to align with God’s righteousness. We are to want Godly character. With a focus based on selfish desires we can get upset when things do not go our way. We might argue, criticize, blame, and create a separation from others. This distancing contradicts our call toward love, forgiveness, mercy, and peace. God is not to serve us, we are to serve God. Our thinking can be beneficial through seeking how to daily grow with God.

We forget the serious limitations of our self-knowledge and personal understanding. When things go wrong it is us that are wrong, not God. Our attitudes and beliefs fall short of God’s plan because we are not obeying God’s instruction. Historically the majority of man including God’s most dedicated followers became hardened and rebellious serving selfishness and pride. Are we really so much different?

How do we understand right and wrong? Is pain and happiness our indicators of right and wrong? Is God only present with us when we feel good? Often times our suffering is provided to produce strength and Godly character. Difficulties can create bonding and build relationships. Challenges bring people together more often than good fortune. Hurt can bond people together. Growth toward God requires a dying to our selfishness. We must be willing to let go of our personal agenda that does not fit with God which can be difficult and uncomfortable. The discomfort in letting go of undesirable character creates room for new Godly character... "let go, let God."

When is the last time we took a long hard look in the mirror to find our own flaws and misguided thinking? It’s there, isn’t it? We all understand that we sin, but how much effort do we apply to correcting our thinking and attitude with Godly character? No effort = no change. The spirit of God can help us, but we must listen and act on what it says.

James 1:22-24 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

2 Corinthians 10 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Regular practice of studying the bible, listening to the Spirit, and interpersonal dialogue about growth in Godly character could be the best method of finding and developing spiritual truth provided we continually seek improved adherence to God's commands. We go to the word with our own understanding, compare that with others understandings, listen to the Spirit, evaluate our experience in putting it into practice, and make corrections.

Effort, diligence, struggle, suffering, perseverance, strength, endurance
We are called into this character to grow and learn about God. It is our own thinking which betrays us. Our own rationalization and manipulating thoughts convince us into fulfilling selfish desires. What valid reason could there be to condone continuing our slavery to sin. We do not have to be perfect, but ought to be progressing toward perfection as Christ exemplified. We ought to feel suffering and joy in the process of growing with God, but we must first take the initial steps to resist the evil temptation which often blocks us.

Romans 12:10-1210 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Powerlessness is the admission that our understanding is incorrect. We have so much to learn about God and God is right here with us right now urging us to pay attention to our heart, soul, and spirit. We often enjoy intelligence, but God speaks to us in love. We desire pride, but God teaches those who are humble. God’s grace comes in the form of mercy and forgiveness, but we often stand in judgement, pointing out wrongs, and creating distance. We seek an attitude which contradicts God. We follow something not of God and we could benefit from repentance. The first move toward that repentance is to admit there is something wrong with our thinking and beliefs. In order to change we must accept responsibility for our own condition. We ought to put into regular practice guarding and filtering our own thinking.

Becoming a servant of God is to become more obedient to God’s character. We won’t get very far if we procrastinate. God must become a regular part of our awareness. Asking ourselves “how can I serve you God” or “God please help me grow in your compassion and patience” multiple times each day throughout the day can help keep us get on track.

 We are to grow and increase in God as we seek out ways to increase our understanding about God. We can sense a new identity over time as our thoughts, attitude and behavior aligns with God's character. Feeling confused, humbled, weak, and uncertain can mean that we are giving up our self-reliance and practicing new methods of God reliance. Practicing new thoughts and actions unfamiliar to us can present a sense of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. Through practice and experience we will increase in our faith and knowledge of God. As this new way of life fills us our confidence can become more solid then we could have ever thought possible. Our confidence will become reliant upon God.

Our new way of life shaping us in truth, sincerity, justice, love, and gentleness can continue to grow provided we persevere with endurance. At first this new character is like a new tree with shallow roots and is easily knocked over, but over time those roots can grow to make that tree more solid. New knowledge with repeated experience provides evidence which strengthens our understanding, beliefs, and faith. Yet we cannot acquire any new knowledge until we become ready to let go of our limited understanding and let new Godly experiences reshape our faith.

Philippians 4:7 the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
Proverbs 15:32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.
Proverbs 23:4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease!
Luke 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Ephesians 4:17-19 The New Man
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Romans 5:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.