Your inner desires are completely linked to the will of God for your future. If you delight in Him, the Bible says, He will grant you the desires of your heart. Yet you’ll never truly be able to find them or follow them if you’re driven by demand, fear and conformity. In this article Pastor Dave Gilpin teaches you how to dig through your emotional layers to find the true, life-guiding passions that dwell beneath.
What you are currently desiring is possibly your future. Your inner desires are intrinsically linked to the will of God for your life. If you delight in Him, the Bible says, He will grant you the desires of your heart. Yet you’ll never truly be able to find them or follow them if you’re driven by demand, fear or conformity.
Recently I double booked a dinner date with Jen, and made a massive vocabulary error when telling her I’d cancel my other plans. I told her it was a ‘bit of a sacrifice’ – and in classic Jenny Gilpin form she replied that if it was going to be such a sacrifice, then I could put the dinner where the sun don’t shine!
I have a feeling it is the same with God. We can be full of so many complaints and find ourselves dragging our feet and always thinking ‘Do I have to?’
I want to say on behalf of God, if it is going to be such a sacrifice, then you can place your obedience where the sun don’t shine.
God trades in love, and love trades in desire. If you have lost your desire then you’ve lost the magic that started the whole thing. It began with a love for God and a love from God, not sacrifice. Even doing nothing for God for the rest of your life is better than doing God’s love a disservice by dragging your feet along the beautiful pathway that is filled with the precious, loving blood of Jesus Christ.
God is looking for a desire and for a mindfulness of Him that changes what you do from a demand to a delight. He wants to build an atmosphere of desire, passion and love.
In Psalm 37:4 it says to ‘take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.’
Why would God give you the desires of your heart, unless that is the will of God? It would appear to me that the will of God is wrapped with the wrapping paper of desire.
God is crazy about your desires for a number of reasons.
1. The first reason is because it reveals love. The greatest presents that my wife gets are when I get her spontaneous presents, because there was no need: just love. It’s the same with God: He takes the pressure off you to not have to do anything you don’t want to, which creates an opportunity for us to bring voluntary gifts. These are more precious to God than anything done in duty.
2. The second reason is because it reveals worship. Real worship needs options: it needs to be something you choose, not something you choke on. In the west we have thousands of options. Choosing God is beautiful because you could have an okay life without Christ, but you chose to follow Him.
God is stripping us back from have to, got to; to love to, get to. You could do nothing and God won’t love you any less than He loves you right now. True worship isn’t duty, it is a whole-hearted engagement.
3. The third reason is because it reveals real excellence. After 33 years of marriage, if Jen repeatedly reminds me of a job that needs doing around the house it can easily move from being a delight to a demand. If something is a demand, I am only going to do it half well, but if I do it out of delight, I am going to do it brilliantly. When you can keep everything in the realm of desire, God will get excellence, but if it moves into the realm of duty, He will get far less than our best. The horse of desire always pulls the cart of diligence, commitment, consistency and a magnificent obsession with excellence.
Right now, if you feel like God is demanding something of you, take it off. Know He loves you as much before you do anything as after you do everything. If you think He has more for you, another level and another challenge, you are not obliged to do it. Jen and I travelled 10,000 miles, 27 years ago from Brisbane to Sheffield to plant a church – but we did not have to. God offers an invitation of love, not a demand of duty. Stop being driven by condemnation and allow yourself to be driven by desire.
There are five levels of our desires we need to get in touch with.
Level 1: A Liking
An attraction, a curiosity, an inclination, a soft spot, a fancy, a wish, a taste.
It’s the mildest kind of desire, but it is still a desire.
Level 2: An Inkling
A niggle, an itch, a fly in the room, a restlessness, an unease.
You are steamrolling your inklings when you’re led too long by ‘I’ve got to.’ Your complaining becomes noisier than your inklings. Come back to the inklings.
Level 3: A Searching
A wanting, a yearning, a hunger, an eagerness, an excitement, an urge.
What you are currently desiring is possibly your future. Everything starts with a hunger.
Level 4: A Hankering
A pining, a craving, a fervour, an aching.
There is an unease in you that’s trying to push you out of your nest of predictability and comfort into the new pathway of progress.
Level 5: An Obsessing
A drivenness, a smitten-ness, an infatuation, a consuming, an addiction and absorption.
Most of the greatest breakthroughs in science and invention have come through Level Five desires.
There are a few levels of emotion we need to carve through before we reach the layer where our desires meet with God’s will.
The Four Layers of Emotion:
Layer 1: Our Volatile Emotions
Anger, spite, hate, recklessness, rage, jealousy (mixed with the virtuous emotions of the fruits of the Spirit).
Layer 2: Our Vulnerable Emotions
Anxiety, fearfulness, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, rejection, inferiority.
Layer 3: Our Visionary Emotions
Desire to win, desire to be significant, desire to live for a higher cause, desire to make a mark.
Layer 4: Our Victorious Emotions
Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Joy contains your deepest desires.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
To dig down into your deeper emotions in order to discover God’s will for your life, you need an altar. A rededication of your ambition to God, to say to God, ‘everything I have is yours’, and then refuse to be squeezed into the pattern of thinking on this world. Stop being overwhelmed by the top layer volatile emotions and dig down until you find the deep-seated emotions of peace and joy.
There is something exciting in the depths of your heart. Put your life on the altar and grab that desire. Your future will be found by it. ■