We live in the era of a self-promoting, self-gratifying generation that promotes Self Over Everything. We are inundated with memes, posts, and propaganda that tells us our desires should take precedence over everything, even our morals. Moral constructs and standards bend with the sway of a flag in the wind as allegiance is paid to self, then desires, then God. We no longer live in the 90s where everyone sang in unison and the knowledge of the newest Kirk Franklin single was presented like a badge of honor. We live in a day and time where it is not “popular” to live for Jesus. It is not popular to submit yourself to the laws and the authority of a Higher Power. Everyone is crowning themselves gods, mastering their own fates, and wanting to “just be happy.”
After all, God wants us to be happy, right?
As Christians, we have been inspired to live a different way, to follow Jesus. We are taught to live for God unashamedly and with a boldness that mirrors Joshua, faith that mirrors Abraham, the heart of David, and love that mirrors Jesus Christ. But I can’t help but wonder if the bad morals around us have imparted any residue on our good character? Have we taken on some of these selfish behaviors and/or characteristics? I’m talking more than the occasional “No new friends,” “Trust No one,” “Self-Made,” or even the occasional “Team No Sleep” as well as the affirmations, likes, or reposts on social media. Have the world’s popular views and ideologies deposited seeds in our psyches that, in turn, affect our thoughts and slightly erode our morals? Have we allowed the world view to corrupt our definition of unashamed, of courage, and of covenant? Have we allowed ourselves to fall into a false or diluted form of Christianity lacking sacrifice, selflessness, and love, but brewing over with conformity and self-gratification? A Christianity that promotes healing and prosperity, but is deficient in the promotion of submission.
Now you could be thinking two things…is it really that bad? OR… How could we have let this happen?
This can easily happen when we allow the idea of self-love, glorification of happiness, and self-gratification to infiltrate our minds by adhering to their suggestive thoughts of Self over God. We give into momentary happiness and gratification by picking up vices and convincing ourselves “it’s not that bad”, or “God knows my heart,” or even misusing the element of grace to allow yourself to feel better after the fact. Erosion takes place when we allow our desires, whether God-given or world-influenced, take the place of God in our hearts.
Have we allowed our desires to overtake us and become Idols in our hearts?
Matthew 6:21 states, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (KJV). Our desires reflect our heart’s posture. Most of us love God and desire to please Him, but still may not be fully submitted to Him. By fully submitting to Him, we give Him entire reign in our hearts and follow His word, will, and way without reasoning, compromise, or refute like James 4:15 says, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (NIV). We have to make sure that the desires of our hearts line up with God and His perfect will for our lives.
Any desire that is placed in competition with God for the #1 spot in our hearts is an Idol.
Desires become Idols when we say, “I know God wants me to do this, But….” or “I know God said this, BUT…” God is calling us to follow His way, not to reason with it, and every time we choose a desire over His Will we are telling God “I love you, but I love this more.”
Jesus, I love you, but I Love Sex more.
Lord, I love you, but I Love Porn more.
God, I love you, but I Love Money more.
Jesus, I love you, but I love Pride more.
Imagine that. You standing before God. The Alpha and Omega. The Author and Finisher of your fate. The all-powerful omnipotent omniscient Wonder and tell Him “I love you, but I love money more.” Jesus, I get that you died for my sins, but the sex is too good to give up. Or Lord, I am aware that you hold the universe in your hands and promotion comes from you, but if I tell this lie I could make partner. Lord, I know you created the earth, the moon, and the stars. You have great plans for me and blessings for me, but I rather sin, then place myself in a position to receive it all. Sin is a disease. It starts small then grows and grows. James 1:15 says, “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Every time we place something or the desire of something before God and His word it becomes an idol. The enemy wants us to think that it’s not a big deal. He wants to deceive God’s people into thinking that following all of God’s commands is impossible; therefore, it’s “ok” to choose a sin and live with it. It’s true, partially. Most lies are. The enemy is right, it is impossible to keep all of the commandments on our own, but that is where Jesus and Grace come in.
Being imperfect does not give us the right to willingly make mistakes.
Romans 12:2 states, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (NIV). When we do these things we are telling God that He is less than sex, He is less than drugs, He is less than money. We are also telling God that we don’t trust Him. We are saying our way is better that His way. We submit parts of our lives and hearts and expect God to compartmentalize our healing and/or blessings.
We have to desire God’s heart and desire to please Him at all cost.
Our hearts must be so sold out to God that the sight, sound, and motion of sin disgusts us. Sex- disgusting. Porn- disgusting. Lying- disgusting. Un-Godly relationships- disgusting. Pride- disgusting. Anything that would displease God or disturb our relationship with Him will be utterly repulsive. Ephesians 6:6 also says, “Don’t work to make yourself look good and try to flatter people, but act like slaves of Christ carrying out God’s will from the heart” (NIV). This is a life of 100% submission. This is a mindset that mirrors that of Abraham, David, Joshua, and Jesus Christ.
God desires us to live a life that is 100% submitted to Him.
Not 75. Not 82. Not 99 1/2. Our submission level is so important to God that He tests our hearts to see where we stand. A great example of this would be the testing of Abraham. Genesis 15 details, a promise to Abraham of a great land and descendants comparable to the stars in the sky. At the time, Abraham was old and did not have a heir, but He trusted God and God gave him a son in his old age. Abraham loved Isaac dearly and treated him like a prize. God quickly checked Abraham by testing him in such a great way that it rocked him to the core. Genesis 22 details God’s request for a burnt offering and enlisted the help of Isaac. Abraham agreed and they went off to the mountain, built an altar, and when Abraham asked for God to provide the sacrifice God told him to sacrifice his son. Abraham was horrified but obliged. He tied Isaac up, placed him on the altar, and when the dagger was raised to kill him…God sent an angel to stop him. The Lord provided a ram in the bush and Isaac’s life was spared.
Well pleased, the Lord said, “…I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring[b]a nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:
15-18). This story shows how important it is to not only trust God with our desires, but to also submit our deepest desires and willing to give them up if asked to. Abraham was an upright guy, he loved God with all his heart, he was faithful, he was a good steward, but God used him to resonate the importance of keeping Himself first in our hearts.
What does this mean to me?
We fail when we compromise. When our desires precede our desire to please God we weaken our armor; therefore, allowing entry to the enemy to wreck our lives. James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (ESV). When we allow our hearts and desires to go unchecked, we leave room to be tempted. We cannot allow the flesh to arise because that can lead to our demise even when we lose focus for a little. A great example of this is the story of Saul. Saul was an awesome king. He was anointed by God and was rewarded with many riches and victories. Saul’s fall began with the temptation of foreign women and idol worship. This sent him on a spur of disobedience that ultimately leads to God removing the anointing from his life. David was anointed in his stead, while he was still king. Even in the world, great leaders have fallen to momentary entanglements of desire. A President of the United States lost everything he worked for because of an act of momentary pleasure. The enemy wants to deceive us into believing that through grace we have an unlimited amount of chances to sin. We do, but do we really want the hand of God to be removed from us?
Do we really want to trade our anointing, full functionality of our spiritual gifts, and/or our salvation for sin?
I don’t believe Saul, or any of the others, made a mental decision to deny, disobey, and displease God. I believe it was an evolution that began with their hearts. If the desire to please ourselves supersedes the desire to please God, then we are always at a risk of living a life that is displeasing to God. James 4:7 says “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (KJV). 1 John 2:17 says, “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (NIV). We have to change our thoughts from Me Me Me to He He He. What better way to achieve this than to go before the Lord in prayer and ask for a heart check. The best way to determining your true heart’s condition than to have a real open-minded transparent conversation with God in prayer.
Heart Check: Lord, Does all my desires line up with your Word and Will for my life? Am I placing anything before you? Help me to properly prioritize my life, affairs, and desires in the way that you see fit. I want to be 100% submitted to you. I want to be used by you & I want to want you more than anything else.
We are at our best when we are 100% submitted to God. Trust the Lord. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added after (Matt 6:33). God will give you everything you desire and the best part is…His gifts maketh thee rich and addeth no sorrow (Prov. 10:22). Our desire to please the Lord should take precedence over everything. God is calling us to throw away our old minds that aid in our comfort with choices that displease Him. God is not expecting us to be perfect, but to have a perfect heart towards Him. We have to aim to please God in all that we do. He deserves it. God is calling us to a deeper commitment to Him. Let’s challenge ourselves to apply what we know and obey at all cost. Let’s remember to check our hearts and remain focused so that when we post, wear, and shout G.O.E. we inspire others to do the same.