This is a dangerous statement because our society today tells us, “Just be you. Be who you are. You know who you are. Do what your heart desires. Fulfill your desires.”
I’ve learned the hard way to be careful about sharing this because it only exists for those people who are searching the heart of God in all of their ways—not some of their ways, not only in church on Sunday morning, but in all of their ways. They acknowledge God in all of their ways.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5–6 NIV)
That word 'acknowledge' there means to know God relationally. In everything you do, be in communion with God. That’s really what it means.
If you go out and do what you want to do, and that includes sleeping around and making immoral choices, then you are not acknowledging God in all of your ways. He is not a God of sin. This message is not designed for people who are trying to fulfill their fantasies or their sinful desires.
This is for people who are truly seeking God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They are seeking to know Him. They read the Word. They are falling in love with God more every day. Those people can do this. God gives them the desires of their hearts.
When you’re not really seeking Him, when He is not your first priority and you are not pursuing Him with everything you have because He is good and you want to know Him, then the desires of your heart may not be purely His. They may be your desires for the old things your flesh used to want—you know, bigger house, nicer car, better body, somebody to love you, somebody to fill your void.
Well, God is your void filler. He is your house. You are His house. You have everything you need in Him, and there is nothing that you lack. Lack is not your portion when you are in Him. I think it takes a while after we begin seeking God for the desires of our heart to transfer from our old, worldly desires to His desires.
But once you are seeking Him and you really know who you are as His child, He puts His desires in your heart. He puts in you the desire to take care of orphans and widows. He gives you the desire to help people. He gives you the desire not to honk the horn and be mad at somebody who road-raged you or drove you off the road. He gives you the desire to offer freedom and forgiveness. He gives you the desires of your heart because He is placing His desires in your heart.
The more you seek Him, the more you find Him and the more He gives you His desires. When that happens, you’ll know. If the desire in your heart is to go out and smoke and drink, that’s not it, okay? You’ll know when it’s God’s desire. If you’re walking and you see someone and think, “I feel like I should give this person twenty bucks,” that’s probably God’s desire in your heart. He is going to provide the twenty bucks, and He is going to want you to give the twenty bucks away.
You can trust that when you are seeking God with all of your heart, you are hearing from Him and He is putting His desires in your heart. When you are first learning to distinguish between God’s desires and the desires of your flesh, what you want to do is check His Word. See whether the desire in your heart lines up with how God teaches us to live in Scripture. If it doesn’t and it’s sinful, then you don’t want to follow that desire.
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:17–18 NIV)
One of the things I do is let the peace of Christ rule in me. I wake up with God on my heart, and I want to be with Him all of the time. I am with Him all of the time, and He is with me. Before I do anything, I stop and wait for the peace of God to run over me. I ask, “Is this the peace of God?” There’s a difference between man’s direction and God’s, and God’s is always surrounded by tremendous peace.