The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?
Let me ask you a question that a friend once asked me: What would you choose to do with the rest of your life if you had all the time, money, and education necessary, and you knew you would not fail?
Your answer to that question could be the best way to know God’s will for your life. This week, we’re going to look at the most overlooked method by which God communicates His plan to us, and that is through our desires. We’re going to learn that perhaps the best way to discover God’s will is to discover your will.
Can you really rely on your desires to know God’s will for your life? For example, how does a young man know whether his desire to marry a certain young woman is rooted in sacrificial love or insatiable lust? How does a teenager know whether his desire to go into ministry is a calling from God or a way to compensate for his deficient self-esteem? How does a pastor know whether his desire to start a building campaign comes from a passion for God’s kingdom or from his own ego? How do we know which of our desires come from God and which come from ourselves? Before we talk about using our desires to discover God’s will, we need to understand what the Bible says about our desires.
The Bible says our desires have been corrupted by sin. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Perhaps the best diagnosis of the condition of our hearts comes from the apostle Paul. Quoting Psalm 14 and Psalm 53, he wrote, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10–12). Pretty depressing, isn’t it? Paul said there is not one good person who roams the planet.
You might say, “Paul, aren’t you exaggerating just a little bit? What about all the people who volunteer at nursing homes or give to charity? How can you say no one does anything good?” These verses support what we call the doctrine of total depravity, the idea that humans are totally depraved apart from Christ. That doesn’t mean everybody is as bad as we possibly could be; it means sin has contaminated every part of our lives–our thoughts, our motives, and even our desires. Our desires have been corrupted by sin.
Today’s devotion is adapted from “Knowing God’s Will by Knowing Yours” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.