Why you don’t receive your heart’s desires

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps. 37:4, ESV).

 The cliché declares the heart wants what it wants. It enforces the belief that we have these heart-felt desires of which we cannot control. We roll with this as if our heart is apart from the rest of our being—a separate vessel that we must submit to regardless of whether we want to or not. The heart wants what it wants. We are often told to follow our heart as if the truth of every issue of life flows from it. We can depend on it to guide us everlasting peace. These beliefs are both true and untrue. Allow me to explain.

The unregenerate heart

We are born with an unregenerate heart which simply means that it has not been changed by the power of God. It is the heart connected to our sinful nature. It is the heart of which Jeremiah spoke of when he said, “The heart is desperately wicked.” The unregenerate heart does not and cannot submit to God. If you don’t know God as savior it is possible to diligently follow your heart and be completely, perfectly and utterly wrong. If we don’t have the spirit of God ruling our hearts—which is given to us when we are born again—we will not be obedient to God. And even with all of our good intentions we will follow our fleshly, natural desires, never coming close to pleasing God.

“…the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:7-8)

Our hearts are submissive to the world view. We react to what is going on around us, pressed on every side to fit in with what is normal or seemingly necessary. Our desires and wants for our children and families become a reflection of what the world deems right and necessary—the way spend our money and time, our view of political and social issues, the way we love and seek to be loved. We become the walking billboard of the self-absorbed and progressive view of the world in which we live, rolling with the order just to keep up.

When we seek God with this heart it is not a reflection of his will but our own. God allows us to choose, of course, but it doesn’t mean he will be a participant or an approver in our wrong choices, even when our hearts are hungry for it.

Shining the Light on our Desires

But you say, what about us who are born again? What about those who desperately want to please God? God speaks to our spirit and in our innermost man we know what God knows. But even as born again believers our soul is often bent towards the world’s belief. If our desires don’t fall in line with the Word of God, they can be just as undesirable as that of someone who is not walking with God. Even as Christians we often absorb what we see, feel, and experience, and live out of this fleshly nature. We become prone to the same desires as the world, seeking to satisfy a longing that can only satisfied by a true and intimate relationship with God.

How do we change our heart’s desire?

We change by renewing our mind with the word of God. We find out God’s take on things and line our thinking up with his way—even if we feel something differently. We remember that he knows best.

It’s funny, but looking back at my life only five years ago it’s amazing how my desires changed as I sought a closer relationship with God. For so long, I was bent on a plan that I thought suited me. When I reexamined many of my desires they sought to look the part of someone I thought I needed to be. Many of them were prideful and self-serving based on deep-rooted insecurities and fears.

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

When we seek intimacy with God and truly set out to know and do his will not only will our desires change but we will begin to receive what we ask for because we are in alignment with His purpose and plan for our lives. His desires become our desires and his plan becomes plain.




Guard Your Heart

Symptoms-of-a-Heart-Attack-in-Women-700x395Sharon was a close friend of mine. She was smart, sharp and no pushover for anyone. These were some of the things I admired about her. When she divorced her husband of ten years for a plethora of flaws, –not the least of them being he refused to hold a job–her life shifted in a direction she hadn’t anticipated. She often confided in me that she had hopes of remarrying. She truly did like being married–the feeling of two people completely committed to each other.

It was more than a year before she found someone she thought was suitable. It didn’t take long before the relationship grew serious. They spent more time together than they did apart. I was quite surprised at how quickly things moved. He’d talked of moving back to Boston and taking her with him. And she was considering it.

Nine months or so into the relationship his behavior became sporadic. There were days when she had no idea where he was. And then she discovered–like finding the buried bones of something you hoped you’d find alive—he was married. He’d been with his wife for the past 14 years. The blow was buckling. And my smart, witty, Don’t-take-nothing-off-of-nobody friend was left weak, shell-shocked.

One day, he timidly knocked on her front door. He wanted to talk. He needed to explain. And talk he did. He and his wife were having issues. They lived together and that was it, he said. There was nothing between them except  the house they shared. And if she loved him as he did her, could she just wait it out with him, stay by his side until he and his wife finalized a separation and divorce? It was she he loved, not his wife, he confessed.

When she told me this, slightly bowing her head I knew not only had she considered, but agreed to it. She was now knowingly dating a married man. Who knows if what he said was true, after all liars are cheats just by the nature of who they are. But the thing that troubled me was her acquiescence to this setup.

It then occurred to me that broken and bruised hearts often are not detected from the outside. People walk around looking together, strong, tough, resilient, smart and inside their heart is weakening, fragile and on the verge of breaking if impacted by one more thing. You don’t know it until they do something seemingly uncharacteristic like agree to love a married man, develop some addiction or habit. And you think, how could they? The bible says to guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life (Prov. 4:23). If you want to know a person’s heart, it’s OK to hear their words, but more importantly look at their life.

So many things try to impact our life; the people we hang around, the music we listen to, the advice we cling to. We have to be careful of what and who we allow to sow into our lives. Our enemy doesn’t just want to control our emotions; they flutter and change and bend, just depending. He is after our heart. The bible talks about a hard-heart, that one which is impenetrable with truth, unaffected by guilt or remorse. When we have a sick heart every other part of us will be affected. Our spiritual heart does not become this way over night, but over time.

What I began to realize about my friend, was that her heart had been damaged by dreams unfulfilled, and unrequited commitment by her ex, hope deferred.  Over time she had become thirsty and desperate—but it didn’t show—not immediately. When this man came into her life he was like water for a desert heart. And because it was unprotected, seeking, longing to be healed and satisfied, although her head told her to run, and that he was not good for her, she ran to him. She enjoyed the soothing balm he provided with his words and affection, no matter how temporary they were. When our heart is exposed we are prey completely exposed. And those things you swore you wouldn’t do—you do.

Guard your heart with the Word.  Know what the word says about various aliments of the heart. It is the living cure. Speak life into over yourself—there is nothing to replace positive, energizing words. Speak over your home, your life, so much so that when negative, crushing words and thoughts come at you, you will recognize them as foreign substances and your heart will immediately reject them.

When our heart is protected and filled with the goodness and truth from the Word, we can live out our truth.