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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - The Desires of Your Heart

Charles Stanley - The Desires of Your Heart

Charles Stanley - The Desires of Your Heart
TOPICS: God's Promise for Blessing, Desires

What are the desires of your heart? If God were to say to you, "Ask Me anything you want, no matter what it is, ask Me for one desire, I'll give you the desire of your heart," somebody would say, "Well, that would be fantastic". But I wonder if that would really be true. I think if I felt that, if I believed that God was saying to me, "Give Me any desire of your heart and I'll give it to you". I think all of a sudden, I would be frightened for the moment. If I knew I were going to get exactly what I asked for, what would I ask? If somebody should ask you, "What are the desires of your heart"? Well, right off the top you'd probably say, "Oh, I can give you a whole list".

Now, a desire, a real strong desire and some want that's wishy-washy, I'm talking about real genuine strong desires of your heart. I wonder how many you could really list, or how often you would have to say, "Well, this is the desire of my heart. Well, I think it is. I think it's a desire of my heart". I wonder if you and I could really name them. Secondly may I ask you a question? How would you be impacted if you got exactly what you desire? Would it draw you closer to the Lord or would you find yourself being estranged from Him? What motivates you to have the desires that you have? And how will they affect you if you were to receive them? That is, if you're able to obtain them, what kind of effect that you think it will have upon yourself and upon others around you? Do you know how to get the desires of your heart?

Now let me ask you this. What are you willing to give to get the desires of your heart? What are you willing to do? Do you really know how to have the desires of your heart? I know you've heard about that passage of scripture that says, "Delight yourself in the Lord. He'll give you the desires of your heart". What in the world does that mean? Well, that's what I want to talk about in this message, the desires of your heart. We all have them. There's nothing wrong with it. How do we make those desires become a reality? Can we really and truly ask God to help us? It depends upon what the desire is. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to Psalm 37, and I want us to read these first eight verses together.

Psalm 37, a passage of scripture that oftentimes people quote and they very zealously and joyously and happily quote it. And then I wonder sometimes if they really and truly understand exactly what it means because oftentimes it's quoted, and those desires never become a reality. So, let's begin if you will in this first verse of the 37th Psalm, "Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, and fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing".

Now listen to that awesome promise. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. If you look at this passage, it's a passage that people quote oftentimes. Delight yourself in the Lord. He will give you the desires of your heart. And usually, they stop right there. That's the end of their quote. But you can't take this verse of scripture out of the context of what's going on here. And it's interesting if you'll notice in this passage that in the requirements here, a person oftentimes with great zeal will quote this. But without real true genuinely understanding it, they just run off yonder and saying, "Well, here's the desire of my heart and I'm trusting God for it".

You have to do more than just trust Him for it. And I want us to understand what's so important here. And I want you to notice also before we get into these steps. I want you to notice here three times he says fret not. Now, this particular passage is surrounded by "fret nots". Look at this if you will in verse one. Do not fret because of evil doers. Listen, do not be envious toward the wrongdoers. That is, he says, "Now, you have desires but don't let yourself become annoyed, disturbed, and dissatisfied because of what the unbeliever has or what they're doing and about their desires". Then if you'll notice again in verse 7. He says, "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way". That is, don't become annoyed and upset and just downhearted about what somebody else has, their prosperity, when you don't have it.

And then the third thing he says, if you'll notice in verse 8, "Cease from anger and forsake wrath. Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing". Now what he's saying is this. When you and I become fretty, when we become annoyed and dissatisfied and discomforted and upset, and it can get into anger and bitterness and all the rest because of what we don't have. Or what's, because what somebody else has, what he's saying right in the middle of this passage is, "You know what? You don't have to fret". Now all of us have fretted about certain things. Listen, we fret over things we feel we can't change or can't change when we want to change. We fret over losses or we fret over things that we would like to change in life, or we fret over what we don't have and we ought to have and we must have and we should have. And we live by should, oughts, and musts. That'll make you fret. If I should, ought and must this, that or the other, I'm gonna be fretting.

So listen to what he says. He says delight yourself in the Lord. He'll give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to Him, he says. Trust in Him, rest in Him, wait upon Him. He'll give you the desires of your heart. We don't have to be fretting. But many people are fretting. In fact, most people fret over something. You go to work tomorrow and you meet people in your office and it won't take you long to find out what they're fretting over. Because most people can't keep it to themselves. They're annoyed about things in life and they're fretting over this and fretting over that. These are the same people who tell you that they pray and talk to God, and that they're trusting Him.

So, what I want us to look at for a moment is this. It is a divine promise, listen, that has along with it human responsibilities. It is a divine promise, you and I can bet our life on this, with human responsibilities. What's the first human responsibility? Here it is. Here is the way that you and I can obtain the desires of our heart. Now I'm not gonna tell you something I read in a book. I'm gonna tell you what I know the scripture says, and I'm gonna tell you what I know works in life. Not what I think will work, but what I know will work by experience. Now watch this first requirement for getting the desires of your heart. Listen to what he says. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Now when most people read that passage, this is their emphasis. Delight yourself in your desires. They go from delighting to desires.

Now what happens? God gets left out. If you don't, because I hear people say, "Delight yourself in the Lord, He'll give you the desires of your heart". It's delight and desires. They delight themselves in the desires. That's not what he says. He says delight yourself in the LORD. He will give you the desires of your heart. Now here's the question. What in the world does it mean to delight yourself? How do you delight yourself in the Lord? To delight myself in the Lord means that I take pleasure in Him. I take pleasure in knowing Him. I take pleasure in talking to Him. I take pleasure in being aware of His presence. You and I take pleasure in praying to Him. We take pleasure in worshipping Him. We take pleasure in serving Him. We take pleasure in just being aware of His presence.

In solitude, in meditation, reading His word, take pleasure in reading His word because I'm in His presence, talking to Him and listening to Him speak to my heart. We take pleasure in knowing who He is. He is this awesome, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, merciful, good and gracious and kind and loving and just God. I take pleasure in knowing Him as the creator with all of His unique powers and potential to create the most awesome things in life. I take pleasure in looking back and observing what He's already done in my heart and your heart. I take pleasure in looking forward to the future of what He's going to do. I take pleasure in knowing that He's a good God and that He always has the best. I take pleasure in worshipping and singing and praising and having fun in the presence of Almighty God. I delight myself in Him. He's the most delightful person I know.

The most satisfying. He is the most fulfilling person I know. I delight myself in Him. That's what it means to delight yourself in the Lord. Now that being the case, watch this carefully. You cannot... are you listening, say amen. You cannot live a carnal life, that is half-hearted Christian living, and delight yourself in the Lord. The two don't go together. And people say, "Well, I, you know what? I have desires and I bring 'em to God and I pray, and I tell Him all about 'em and nothing's going on". You know why? Because requirement number one is to delight yourself in Him. Where in the world we got the idea that all you... the Bible says, "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find". And you see people take that passage, hold it up before God and say, "God, this is what You said". Yeah, He sure did but He said a lot of other things. Like, this is the confidence that we have in Him. That if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, then we know that we have the petition we desired of Him.

So, God isn't a hand-me-out God. He's a God, listen. And this passage of scripture should say something to us very clearly. What God is interested in most is not giving me the desires of my heart because that, listen, that's simple. Listen, He doesn't even have to blink His eye to make any single desire of our heart that fits His will and purpose for and plan for our life to become a living reality. Listen, we are no challenge to God. You and I don't challenge God. We can't challenge God. Our desires could never be so big to cause Him to wring His hands one single time. He is this awesome, all-powerful, omnipotent God who desires to give us the best. What is it that He wants? Delight ourselves in Him.

Look at the next thing he says. And they all run together. Commit your way to the Lord. Second step, commit your way to the Lord. Now what does that mean? Well, the Hebrew word means this. Watch this. The Hebrew word means to roll it over. That is, what I'm doing is here's the desire of my heart and I'm just, I'm giving it to God. I'm entrusting it to Him. I'm transferring it to Him. It means, listen, it means that I am willing for Him to scrutinize, to examine, to carefully examine and to tweak my desire if it's a little bit off. If it's a little bit under His expectation for me. If it's more than what He knows that is best for me at this moment. In other words, if I commit it to Him, I roll it over to Him. I have Him to evaluate that desire and He can change it any way He wants to because I know He's a good God and He's only gonna change it for the best.

Now some of our desires are very godly. Some of them may sorta skirt real true godliness. And so what does He do? He helps us to understand. Now that's close but that's not quite it. Because He's always looking out for our good. And so he says we're to delight ourselves in Him and we're to commit it to Him. Now think about it. There are some things you can't commit to Him. There are some desires, if they're ungodly desires, you, listen, if it means transfers, you know what? You may transfer it to Him, but it gets right back in your face. For the simple reason He's not going to accept a desire that does not fit what's best for you because He is committed to your best. He's committed to that. So, we can't argue with God. We can't say, "Well, now Lord, You did this or You". He is committed to our best.

So, if we don't have the desires of our hearts, it's not His fault. Am I willing and can I really and truly talk to Him about this particular desire of my life? Can I really roll it over to Him and say, This is the desire of my heart, putting it in Your hands. Some things we can, some things we cannot. He desires to take them. He desires to handle the desires of our heart because He wants the best for us. So ask yourself this question. Do you have any desire, do you have any strong desires of your heart that when it comes right down to it you really can't truly turn it over to Him and say, "I've... this is what I'm... I was gonna let You... I'm gonna let You handle this, God". Because you know in your heart, doesn't fit His plan, doesn't fit His will for your life.

That's the kind you need to lay down and say, "Lord, I want You to give me the desires that You want me to have for my life". And He's willing to do that. Listen, He will change, He will alter, He will fix anything that we give to Him. When our heart's committed to Him, listen. When He says, "Commit your way," that means every aspect of our life. Not just our desires, but our desires are included. You commit your desire to Him, roll it over to Him and see what He does. Then look at the next part of that verse. This is the third step, very important. And it's all in one verse. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him and He will do it. Notice what he says. He will give you the desires of your heart. He will do it.

Now, if I really and truly trust Him, I'll roll it over to Him. If I don't trust Him, you know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna hold on to it in case He doesn't do it exactly like I think or the timing. I want to hold onto my desire. Or, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna say, "Lord, here's the desire of my heart". And then I'm going to work to manipulate my circumstances so that I will be sure in case He forgets, in case He doesn't come up on time, that I get what I want. And you know what happens? You make a mess of it every time. When you and I go after the desires of our life, apart from God, we make a mess of them. And so, this is why this verse is so powerful and so simple and so helpful. He said, "Delight yourself in Me".

If I'm taking pleasure in Him, the things that we've discussed, and I have rolled it over to him, what am I doing? I'm trusting Him. I believe in His faithfulness, in His devotion. I believe in His commitment so strongly I will trust Him with it. I'll believe Him for it. I know that I'm trusting it in the hands, listen, that are awesome and omnipotent. He has the power. I'm trusting it to a will, listen, that is all-wise. Look at that next phrase. He says we're to commit ourselves to Him, having delighted ourselves in Him, trusting in Him. He said he'll bring forth your righteousness as a light, your judgment as the noonday. That is He'll show that it's right, what you've done is the right thing.

Look, look at this. Rest in the Lord. What in the world does that mean? To rest in Him means that having placed it in His hands, having trusted Him for it, I believe that He's gonna work it out and therefore I don't have to fret and worry and become annoyed. Things, it may look like things are falling apart. They have to get upset? No, listen carefully. You, listen, if you're fretting, you're not trusting. If you're fretting you've not committed it to Him. If you're fretting, you're not delighting yourself in Him. You're worried about the circumstances and how things are working out. So, He says rest in Him. So let me ask you the question. Is your life described more by being annoyed, frustrated, anxious, upset, intimidated, feeling worthless, inadequate, rejected? Do these words... what about resting? And it's words like these that we come to in the scripture.

Somebody says, "Well, I didn't, you know what"? And we just skip right over those words because they say, "Well, what in the world does that mean"? I don't know and keep going. It's time to find out. Because you see, to rest in Him means that I lay down all the annoying and the fretting and the worrying and the caring because I have a loving Father whose umbrella of divine awesome protection has no holes in it. Now watch this next one. Rest in the Lord and... wait how? Patiently. Wait patiently for Him. Now watch this, listen to this. The stronger your desire, the shorter your waiting fuse. Lord, thank You very much, here's the desire of my heart now. God, today. If not today, what about tomorrow? If not tomorrow, next week, and the latest, next month.

And you know what? You'll discover a real shocker in life. You can't make Him do anything. You watch the second hand on a clock. One thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand three, one thousand and four, one thousand five. You know what? You can't make that go one thousand six, seven, eight, nine, ten. You can't because time's not that way. You can't force God's hand one single second. And He says I'm to delight myself in Him. I'm to commit it to Him, trust Him, rest in Him, and then wait. Now when he says wait patiently, here's what that means. Fret not, fret not, fret not. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, you can't be fretting and waiting patiently. You can't do it.

So, what does it mean? It means that I wait without murmuring. I wait without criticizing. I wait without manipulating over here, while I'm trusting God over here, I'm over here manipulating the circumstances of your just in case something doesn't happen. It means that I've rested it in Him, and had, and with peace and tranquility and contentment in my heart, I'm gonna watch how He operates. This is why He says in the Word be strong in the Lord, why? We have to be strong at times. He says, "Take courage. Wait upon the Lord. Be of good courage, I say, and wait upon the Lord". Sometimes it takes courage. It takes strength to wait, especially when we have a strong desire in which we think there is a timetable. And sometimes we put timetables on God. And I want to tell you, He ignores them. He knows when you and I need what we need. He knows when the desire of our heart is the right kind.

Now watch this. You may be asking God for the desire of your heart. You may have a big strong, number one, pre-imminent, zenith, pinnacle desire of your heart out there. And you are delighting yourself in Him, trusting Him, committing Him, committing it to Him and just waiting upon Him and... doesn't He know when you're best ready to receive the desire of your life? Yes, you say, "God, I've been sitting on ready". Well, now, what you mean is from your best judgment you think you're ready. Listen, when you have a big desire in your life, whatever it might be, God knows when you're ready to receive that desire. He also knows when whatever the other circumstance involved in your desire, whether it's some thing or whatever it might be, He also knows when that's ready, or when it's gonna be ready.

And when you and I push ahead of God, and must have it now, we always make a mess of things. It never, never works out to get ahead of God. Because He knows the perfect timing, when you're ready, when the circumstance is ready for you to have the desire of your heart. That's why He says you and I are to concentrate on delighting ourselves in Him. Committing it to Him, trusting Him with it, resting in that and then waiting for His timing. His timing is always perfect. And I think this is probably one of the best tests of our spiritual maturity. Can I present a strong desire of my heart to God and commit it to Him, trust Him with it, rest in it and then go about the business of whatever God has called me to do in life and know that in His timing it's gonna come to pass. I don't have to worry about it. I don't have to fret about it.

And I don't have to be trying to in some way manipulate my circumstance. I can't be manipulating and resting at the same time. To rest means I'm absolutely confident to, listen, to wait, watch this. To wait means to pause until further instruction. When you're waiting upon the Lord, you're pausing for further instruction. When you're waiting upon the Lord, doesn't mean you're doing nothing. But in your relationship to Him, you are pausing at this moment until He says, "Now you can have the desire of your heart".

Now, certainly God has given us the desires of our heart many times and sometimes He's withheld them from us, but always for a specific reason. So let me just give you a little warning here. And I repeat something I said before but I repeat it toward the end because I want you to remember it very carefully. You may have some desires that are not God's will. But you think they are and so you're pursuing this desire in your life. If you're pursuing a desire of your heart that you think is the will of God but it's not the will of God, remember this. He loves you enough that He will derail whatever's out there in order to protect you. But when, listen, when He sends you a signal that this is not of Him, and you ignore the signal, you suffer the consequences.

When you're committed to Him as much as you know how to be committed to Him, and the desire of your heart happens not to be His desire for your life, you know what He will do? He's not going to scold you. You really and truly are committed? You just believe for certain this is what the Lord wants but it's not what He wants for your life? He will protect you by giving you the desire of your heart that He knows is the genuine desire of your heart, which may not be anything like what you thought it was. That's the love of God.

So here's what I want you to think about for a moment. I want you to think about, when tomorrow morning before you even get out of the bed, so you have no excuse. You don't even have to move a single muscle. You don't even have to open your eyes, but you do need to be awake. I want you to think about this. I can tell you what I do, and I can tell you it works. And I can tell you it can bring you through and over and under and around any kind of circumstance in life, no matter what it is. Listen to this. You wake up tomorrow morning and you say:

Father, I want to thank You that You're giving me the desires of my heart. Today I'm gonna delight myself in You. Today, I'm gonna commit everything to You. I'm gonna trust You and I'm gonna rest in the fact that You're my heavenly Father and You have everything under control. And I'm gonna wait for Your perfect timing to give me the desires of my heart.

Now, in that simple prayer it may involve some of the things that are gonna happen that day. But there are those big desires that you have that are always there in your heart. Now you think about this. If you wake up every morning with a commitment to delight yourself in Him, you're gonna be aware of who He is in your life today, taking pleasure in what He does in you, what you know about Him, what He does through you.

I listened to you a friend of mine, yesterday it was. He and I were sitting talking for a few moments and he was just telling me how the Lord was using him. He didn't even realize, he wasn't bragging, he was just telling me how God was opening doors of opportunity for him to speak to people wherever he went and so forth. And I thought to myself, "This man is delighted in Jesus". Because he just has to tell people what the Lord means to him. Now in your personal life, this simple commitment is going to affect every single one of us in a different way. But now think about this. You get up tomorrow morning, first day, "Lord, I'm taking pleasure today in who You are. I want to be preoccupied with You," however you want to say it.

And so today I'm committing everything to You. Trusting everything in Your hands. I'm gonna rest in the fact that I walk, listen, under the umbrella of Your divine protection, has no holes in it. And I'm gonna wait and see what You do in my life today, Lord.

Now listen, what you're saying is that you're gonna walk in the will of God. And you're going to observe what He does. Now watch this. It's very important that when you come to the end of the day, that you look back and say:

Well, Lord, I just want to thank You for what You've done today. You've brought Yourself to my mind continuously and I have seen how, as I've committed these things to You, You've taken care of this. I've trusted You with that and You handled that. And I've been able to function today with peace and sense of serenity, even when I felt rushed at times, I had this inner sense of peace and contentment and things were gonna work out right and I waited for You and I just want to thank You.

I'm telling you, listen, it is foolish to listen to this message and to walk out of here without taking this to your heart, driving it on the inside, locking it in and begin to live it out. It's foolish not to do it. Because the only thing you're gonna end up with is fret, fret, fret. And I'm saying there's a way to live with contentment, and peace and joy, whether you live alone, or whether you live with someone else. It has nothing to do with it. Has nothing to do with it. And all the excuses you could give me, I can tell you, has nothing to do with it. If you will start tomorrow morning, those big desires out there, you can tell Him about them. And those daily desires. "Today, I'm focusing on You. I'm taking pleasure in who You are in me today. And what's gonna happen"?

If you will do that daily, and you will stop at the end of the day before you go to sleep at night, and think through what has God done in my life today? You know what's gonna happen? Here's what's gonna happen. The desires of your heart are gonna start rolling in. You're gonna begin to say, "God, You just blessing me, You're blessing me so much I don't know how to handle this, Lord. God's gonna begin to bless you in ways", you can't figure it out. That's why He says rest. Commit it, you can't figure it out. You're not gonna be able to figure it out. It's just that simple. And you have to decide whether you want His best, no matter what... you see, the reason I share that with you is because somebody saying, say, "Well, you don't know my circumstances". It doesn't make any difference what your circumstances are. Your God knows them and He's sitting on ready to bless you if you'll let Him do it.
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