Monday, January 21, 2013

Lusting or Believing?

I was listening to Joyce Meyer talk recently and she was talking about lust as being wanting something so bad that we can't be happy without it.  Of course it's not wrong to want things (unless it's something sinful like wanting another person's wife or wishing someone harm, etc).  Joyce talked about how when we want something so bad we can't be happy that that is lust, and it's wrong.

I was thinking about what she said and I was thinking about contentment and wanting things in life, especially big things (spouse, children, career, house, etc).  And I started thinking about how sometimes we are called to contentment, and sometimes we are called to faith.  Both are Biblical, both are "right".  I think that at different times, in different circumstances, God calls us to sometimes one, and sometimes the other.

Recently, I have been wanting some "big things" in life.  I have been telling myself to be content, to be OK with what I have.  I have been telling myself that perhaps God doesn't want those things for me; that I should set about in my heart to be OK without them (at least for now).  After hearing what Joyce said I told myself that I was right; that I needed to stop lusting after things and to be content with what I had. 

But you know what?  It didn't feel right.  You would think that if I were in sync with what God was calling me to (contentment in this case), that I would be at peace. 

I wasn't.

I started praying through things and realized that, for this particular time and area of my life, this "contentment" I was trying to be at peace with was actually unbelief.  I was choosing to be content not because I felt God calling me to it, but because I was too scared he wouldn't come through with the things I wanted.  I was choosing unbelief over faith in His goodness.  Sometimes, being OK with little things or trying to get by isn't being content.  Sometimes it's an Ishmael.  What I mean by that is that sometimes God wants us to live trusting Him to deliver something big.  Instead of doing that, we settle for a right now or a less than (sometimes both).  Instead of trusting for Isaac, we settle for Ishmael.

I realized that that's what I've been doing.  Instead of trusting God to bring about these big things, I tried to force contentment because I was afraid he wouldn't deliver. 

Psalm 106 says this:
"The (Israel) believed His words (trusting in, relying on them); they sang His praise.  But they hastily forgot His works; they did not (earnestly) wait for His plans (to develop) regarding them, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness and tempted and tried to restrain God (with their insistent desires) in the desert.  And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls and (thinned their numbers by) disease and death (verses 12-15, Amplified Bible)

I think these verses speak to both contentment and belief.  The first part reminds us how we are so quick to forget all that God has done for us; how we push and rush and don't wait for His good plans but push our agenda (Ishmael).  The latter part of the verse tells us that sometimes God gives us what we beg for just to show us it's not what we really wanted.  There is a place for contentment, and a place for faith. 

There is a place for believing that God is going to give us what we so eagerly pray and wait for.  Now, I think there is a danger here because Scripture does not give us specific promises, and even some promises Scripture speaks of are specific ones to the historic nation of Israel that does not apply to the church today.  But, that being said, I do believe that there are times when God is going to put desires is our hearts for a reason.  If you are walking with God and in constant communication and communion with Him and His Spirit and His word, then I believe that those desires are there on purpose.  If I am praying that God would give me (and my husband) desires for what He wants for us, and there are desires in both of us that align with who God is and what we believe He wants for us, then I choose to believe that those desires are there for God to fulfill, in His own way and in His own time. 

So here's to trusting God.  For not settling but daring to believe that He is as big as He says He is.  I dare you at this season in life to look back on your life and recount and recall all the times He has proved Himself to be good and faithful.  Dare to have that audacious faith; the faith that waits for a baby promised, a longing fulfilled, a dream reached.  Here's to having Isaacs this week, and not Ishmaels.  What is God calling you to believe in Him for?


  1. You should consider submitting this to The Good Woman Project. Have you read that site? It's an online publication and it's full of great articles like this. I've been thinking of this concept so much over the past few years - especially as I keep finding myself in the Old Testament. So often, they were willing to "work" for what they hoped for. They prayed until they were breathless and marched around cities until they had blisters on their feet. The image that pops up over and over in my mind is a man wrestling with God and saying, to His face, "I won't get up until you bless me." That's crazy boldness. I don't feel like the church now even teaches a version of it. I think any longing for family - being married, having a child, etc., - is especially an area where the church often writes it off like, "Be content", when there's so much Biblical evidence of people praying circles around those desires. (And a desire for a family is so close to the heart of God - it really frustrates me when people lump it in with, like, wanting a new car or something. Know what I mean?) I don't know if I told you about Batterson's The Circle Maker, but it made me rethink so much of my contentment on certain issues. I want to be content. But I also don't want to miss a movement of God because I'm afraid, like you said, that maybe He just won't deliver. Good word. (Sorry I left a novel of a comment ;)

  2. I'll have to check out The Good Woman Project (thanks for the tip!). This is a lesson God keeps speaking to my heart; to dream big and pray big and believe big. You're right in that the church tends to teach more safety net prayers than bold ones. I think we need to see the return of some good OT style radical prayers (and the faith that goes with it) And yes, I agree, wanting a spouse or babies is different than wanting a new four door sedan! You told me about The Circle Maker--it's on my list of things to read. Hope you have some audacious faith this week! :)