Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Desire and Purpose

(an excerpt from Psalm Notes on Psalm 20)

"May He grant you according to your heart's desire, and fulfill all your purpose." (Psalm 20:4)

What is your heart's desire? Think about it.  Also, what is your purpose?  Your life's purpose...

       Speaking of heart desires, Psalm 37 has a popular 'promise verse' cherished by believers throughout millennia: "Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:4-7)
        I often hear believers quoting David in Psalm 37 as the foundation for their confidence that God will give them the thing that they are urgently desiring.  Yet, I have just as often heard believers declare their doubt and confusion regarding God's faithfulness to His promises in the Word, as the "desires of their heart" were not met.
        The common counsel in response to such a cry is just to "keep waiting", as the passage in Psalm 37 goes on to say, "Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him... do not fret - it only causes harm." (verses 7-8) While true in context, I believe that the counsel fails for the same reason that the promise itself seems to fail in the first place.
       The desires of our hearts are not the emotional and mental wants which often masquerade as "needs." Someone might say, "The desire of my heart is a husband," or "the desire of my heart is to own a house with some land." Both are not wrong to desire, but that is not what David is referring to here in Psalm 20 or in Psalm 37. Although these desires can feel strong at times, and even deep, these intense emotional longings are not "heart desires."

       The desires of our hearts are intimately connected to the purpose of our lives.

       Everyone was born with a purpose, uniquely theirs, destined from eternity past in the heart of God. Jeremiah, the prophet, wrote of the day that the Lord called him, “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5) Jeremiah's calling, his purpose, was to be a prophet to the nations.
      Paul, the apostle, also wrote of his calling by the will of God: "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles..." (Galatians 1:15-16) and Ephesians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God." Paul's foreordained life purpose was to be an apostle of Jesus Christ.

      With these callings, came passionate desires. Desires, even, for what was undesirable.

      Jeremiah, later in life and on the brink of quitting the ministry, declared, "Then I said, 'I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.' But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not." (Jeremiah 20:9) His calling was extremely hard, often discouraging, and even dangerous, yet he could not forsake it.  He would not.  He had to speak. It was the desire of his heart. It was his life purpose.  It was in him.
      Paul, too, frequently had terribly difficult times in his calling, and was often abused, rejected, and dishonoured for his sacrificial service to others. Yet, in speaking of rewards for his labour, he said, "What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge..." (1 Corinthians 9:18)  His calling, itself, he felt was the reward. No matter how practically unrewarding, how painful, how exhausting it was, there was nothing else he would rather do with his life than be an apostle of Jesus Christ. It was the desire of his heart.

       As I said, the desires of our hearts are intimately connected to the purpose of our lives. Each of us has been given a path that only we can walk, and we have been designed specifically to fulfill that particular purpose that only we were created for. You were created for a purpose! There is no one-size-fits-all category in the Kingdom of God.
      We are each unique. I like the fridge magnet that says, "Be yourself; everybody else is taken." There is only one you, and God made you exactly who you are. Those quirks that make you different are the very reasons that God is crazy about you! He cherishes you; He custom designed you for a purpose.
      "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:13-16)
      In other words, the desire of your heart is to fulfill the purpose God created you for. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)

       When we accept God's special calling for our lives, we discover our purpose in life, and in so doing, we experience the fulfillment of the deepest, truest, God-given desires of our hearts.

      May He grant you the desires of your heart, and fulfill all your purpose!


  1. What a beautiful post Heather, and a topic which I must keep constantly reminding myself of. You are a blessing, and your blog an inspiration. Thank you for following the leadings that you have been called to which bless not only me, but others as well! I love you my sister!

    1. Thank you, Siobhan! You, too, are such an encouragement to me. I really enjoyed our fellowship on Friday; praying for you as always! God bless.