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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Desires of the heart 4

Today I'm reading James 4:1-3. "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

And Matthew 7:7-12. ”…how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

If it wasn’t for prayer I think I would be a nervous wreck. If there wasn’t some way to off load the stresses and cares of life into the hands of Someone who is much better equipped to handle it all than I am, it’s quite possible my head would explode. And if it wasn’t for having a spiritual center to return to day after day, for clarity, purpose, power, peace - well, I don’t know how people make it without Christ. No wonder people drink, drug, sex, eat or trivialize themselves to cope with the pressure. Our desires are at war within us and we need a way to navigate our way through the maze.

There is such a simple, yet powerful invitation in Jesus’ words in this passage. A child asking for a good thing from his/her father. Jesus so frequently uses hyperbole (exaggerated comparisons) to get his point across. What father would give his child a snake? Of course we know there are plenty of abusive parents out there who do even worse things than that. The simple point is that, because of our relationship with him, God hears and is eager to respond to our needs (not necessarily all of our wants). A good father gives what is good for the child. The father doesn’t give the child a bag of broken glass to chew on no matter how much the child might beg for it. Jesus invites us to ask, to seek, to knock. That’s really incredible when you think about it. He waits for us to ask. What are you asking for? What should you be asking for? What are your deep desires?

Here are some great words from great preacher Charles Spurgeon on this passage:

“If all these things are to be had by merely knocking at mercy’s door, O my soul, knock hard this morning, and ask for large things of thy generous God. Leave not the throne of grace till all thy wants have been spread before the Lord, and until by faith thou hast a comfortable prospect that they shall all be supplied. No bashfulness need retard when Jesus invites. No unbelief should hinder when Jesus promises. No cold-heartedness should restrain when such blessings are to be obtained.” (Charles Spurgeon, Evening and Morning).

So, as you think through your real desires before the Lord, knock hard!


Today’s prayer: O God within me, give me grace today to recognize the stirrings of Thy Spirit within my soul and to listen most attentively to all that Thou hast to say to me. Let not the noises of the world ever so confuse me that I cannot hear Thee speak. Help me never to deceive myself as to the meaning of Thy commands; and so let me in all things obey Thy will, through the grace of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. (John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer).

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