<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Fulfilling Our Desires
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Fulfilling our Desires

By Pastor William R. Cunningham

Introduction

This sermon deals with our desires.  Why do we not have the things we want?  I hope that I can shed some light on the answer to this question and I hope that you will be motivated to change your life and obtain the things that you desire.

There are at least two approaches to acquiring the things you want:

Pray and sow seeds and God will give it to you (Word of faith teaching)

Ask God, act according to his word and work to receive what you request (Bible teaching)

The word of faith movement would have us to believe that all we have to do is to believe God for the things that we want. Churches teach that we have to tithe our income in order to be blessed of God. Some pastors even teach that we should support them in order to receive a blessing from God. Are these consistent with what the Bible teaches? No.

Lesson

What does the Bible teach us about acquiring the things that we desire? One thing is definite about the Bible. It does not paint an ideal view of acquiring our desires. The Bible makes no promises of having all that we want or of living in abundance of riches. That may seem sacrilegious to some of you, especially the word of faith people. However, realize that I am not saying that Christians cannot have wealth or nice things. What I am saying is that the way to get those nice things is not magical or mystic. There are definite ways that we can have the things that we want but we must understand that we have a lot to do with the outcome.

I would like to present some principles that I believe will help you succeed in the things you want to do as well as acquire the things that you desire.

  1. God owns everything

  2. Everything that you could ever need or want is already on this Earth

  3. Your God given purpose

  4. Evaluating your motive and understanding the source of your desires

  5. You have to ask. Use the resources that God has already provided and pursuing what you want.

  6. The source of blessings from God

God Owns Everything

First let’s establish the fact that God owns everything by the fact that He created everything.

(Psa 24:1 KJV) A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

(Psa 50:10-12 KJV) For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. {11} I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. {12} If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

(Exo 9:29 KJV) And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord's.

(1 Cor 10:26 KJV) For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.

Therefore, we can rest assured that there is nothing that I could desire, which God does not have. So the first thing that we need to come to grips with concerning acquiring the things we want is to realize that God owns everything. The question now shifts to what God requires from us in order for Him to give us the things we desire?

It’s Already Here

Now that we know that God owns everything, we need to realize that everything is here. There is nothing that I can ask God for that isn’t on this Earth someplace. Cars, houses, jobs, friends, husband, wife, and more are already on this Earth. Since God created everything, owns everything, and everything I could ever need or want is already on the Earth, then my question now turns to a concern of accessing these things.

For example, let’s say that I want a new house. We know that God owns everything on the Earth and that a new house does exist. What must I do to acquire that house? Here is when things go awry many times. The word of faith movement tells us that if we give, plant seeds of finances to our church, or just believes God that we will eventually get that house. You know and I know that this world does not operate that way. Therefore, there must be something that I have to do in order to get the new house. What do you know about it? Do you know what kind of house you really want? Do you know who makes the best house? Do you know how much money that you will need or are you just waiting for God to drop it out of the sky for you. Remember that your house is already here either physically or in the mind of a developer.

Getting your new home for example is a matter of access. There is nothing mystical or magical about it. In order to get a new home or anything for that matter, you will usually have to pay for it and acquire it through the proper channels. Yes there may be some direct divine intervention. Yes someone may give it to you. However, these are exceptions and not the norm. We all get gifts in our lives but these things are not planned so we can’t expect a gift if we want something. So how can we access and posses the things we want?

Motive

What is motivating your desire? This becomes very important if we expect to receive anything from God. Here is an interesting verse of scripture that deals with the motives of our desires.

(James 4:1-3 NCV) Do you know where your fights and arguments come from? They come from the selfish desires that war within you. {2} You want things, but you do not have them. So you are ready to kill and are jealous of other people, but you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight. You do not get what you want, because you do not ask God. {3} Or when you ask, you do not receive because the reason you ask is wrong. You want things so you can use them for your own pleasures.

James reveals that disputes arise because we just can’t get what we want. We can’t get what we want because we don’t ask God. Even if we ask God we still don’t get what we want because we ask with the wrong motive. What is the wrong motive? The wrong motive is selfishness. Rarely are we zealous about someone else’s needs or wants, as we are our own. We want to consume everything we get on ourselves. So we must evaluate our motive if we expect to receive anything from God. God does not promote selfishness and I doubt if he will honor a selfish prayer.

Perspective of Desires

Please note that it is not required that every one of your desires not be for yourself. Sometimes we want things just because we want them. Consider the following verse.

(Psa 37:1-4 KJV) A Psalm of David. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. {2} For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. {3} Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. {4} Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

We should not become envious of sinful people who seem to prosper abundantly. Their prosperity will not last. Instead we are promised that we will have the desires of our heart. Wait a minute! Who is the "we" here. The "we" are those people that delight in the Lord. That is, those people that find pleasure in the Lord.

Consider that the Lord will influence those who genuinely fine pleasure in Him. That is, they will have a righteous heart, which means their motives tend to be acceptable to God. So though God will give them the desires of their heart, the desires are righteous ones.

Another point that I would like to make is that not all motives can be categorized as righteous or unrighteous. I believe that there are some things that are "neutral." For example, can I say that my desire to have a 60" TV is righteous or unrighteous? It could be that I just want a large screen TV because of the pleasure I get from relaxing and watching a movie. It isn’t a selfish desire. It is just a specific one. So don’t get hung up on categorizing everything you think of as righteous or unrighteous. Righteousness comes naturally from righteous people. Rest in that. Are you righteous?

Motive Management

How do you evaluate your motive? After all if your desire is selfish, for example, is there a way that you can make it not selfish. Motive management deals with the heart. It is not a matter of how to make your motives unselfish. It is a matter of having a heart after God. It is a matter of being guided and influenced from within by the Holy Spirit.

So if you want to have good motives then you need to be good. If you want righteous motives then you should be righteous. It’s that simple but it takes work. Righteousness and living righteously do not happen automatically. You must be born again to obtain the righteousness of God. You must follow (live after) the Spirit if you want to live righteously. Paul gives great insight into changing ourselves.

(Rom 12:1-2 KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Transformation! That’s the ticket. If you want to live righteously then you are going to have to be transformed into a righteous lifestyle. I don’t want to get too involved with this topic because it is not what this lesson is about. The bottom line is that if you want righteous desires then you will have to BE righteous in the sense that you are living righteously. Note I didn’t say that you should just do righteous things. Live righteously and you will do righteous things. Anyone can go through the motions but again it is the heart that matters.

Bad Motive Camouflaged

The word of faith teaching say that we should sow seeds if we want to receive something from God. For example, I should give money to my church if I need my needs met. We are also told that we should give money to the church at all times and then that seed will produce the fruit that we need. This sounds good but the scriptures do not support it. Not only that, this teaching promotes the propagation of bad motives.

Think about it for a moment. Why are you giving to help someone if you are acting on the word of faith teaching? You are giving to someone because you want something from God. Are you really helping the person? Are you really concerned about the person who is in need? No. You are concerned about getting what you want and helping them is a way to do it. Consider the teachings in Matthew chapter 6. Also consider Isaiah 1:10-15. In Matthew Jesus teaches that we should do things not for the wrong motive (in the context of Matthew 6 it was to be seen of men). Isaiah reveals that Judah was going through the motions of sacrifices, festivals, etc. but God said that their activities were meaningless to Him. Why? They were doing it for the wrong motive. They were just going through the motions because their heart was far from God.

The same thing applies today. If you giving is not from the heart then it is meaningless. Activities from the heart and not just the activities acquire treasures in heaven. So the word of faith teaching is inconsistent with the Bible’s focus on the heart. It is worldlier then not to help someone or do a righteous act just to get what you want. The word of faith teaching actually camouflages the true conditions of the heart, which is selfishness, or "do what I have to do to get what I want."

Ask

Let’s recap what we have discussed so far before we dive into the area of asking. We know that everything we need or desire is already here on this earth in one form or another. We know that our heavenly Father owns everything. That’s good to know. We also know that we should watch our motives. So let’s say that we understand all of this. We are still left with the task of accessing the things that we want. Why don’t we have the things that we desire?

(James 4:2-3 KJV) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. {3} Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

The reason that we don’t have a lot of things is because we don’t ask for it. If you need help then you should ask someone to help you. Don’t expect them to read your mind or anything like that. Just ask. If we want something from God then all we have to do is ask. Again the reason we don’t have the things we want is because we don’t ask for them. So how can we get the things that we want? Ask!

On the surface this looks real simple. Just ask God and you’ll get it. However, this PRINCIPLE is more complex then it appears. First what does it mean to ask? What are you doing when you ask someone for something? Let’s say I come to you and say, "May I please have $500 to help my buy a computer?" What have I done? I have done at least three things.

  1. Identified what I want (my deficiency)

  2. Pursued a resource for the money I need

  3. Accessed and Inquired of the resource

In general what I have done is to identify what I want and to do something about getting it by accessing possible resources. Let’s look at the idea of pursuit a little more closely.

Pursuit

In order to get the things that we want (this includes needs since we WANT our needs met) we must pursue resources in order to fulfill the desire. This is not specifically a Christian principle. The difference between a Christian’s and non-Christian’s application of the principle of pursuit is in the types of resources that will be pursued and accessed. For example, a non-Christian may seek to "get over" on someone or used various means of dishonest or trickery to entice someone to help get what he or she wants. A Christian will abide by the principles in the Bible to accesses only a limited number and types of resources.

Pursuit is a very important principle in both obtaining things and maintaining them. Let’s use a marriage relationship for example. Usually a spouse is pursued. That is, we look for that special man or women to live our lives with. We date, court, marry, and live together. However, pursuit is also important within the marriage relationship else the romance will die and love will die resulting in misery for one or both partners and then separation or even divorce. So the point is do not think of pursuit as just a way to get what you want. It is also very important in maintaining what you have.

Levels of Resources

How does a Christian pursue the things that he or she wants? We already said that asking is the answer. Whom should we ask? It would seem logical to ask the person that has the resource that we want. However, this is not sufficient because there may be other resources needed in order to access the resource for what we want. For example we need financial resources before we can access the resource of new cars (namely the car dealer). We can’t just walk into the car dealership and ask for a car. However, we can ask for a car if we have the finances available to purchase that car. So there can be multiple levels of resources that are needed to get what we want. Each of these levels of resources has to be accessed in order to get what we want. What does this hint at? It hints at a plan. Let’s look at a scenario for illustration. Let’s say that as a teenager your great desire is to own your own computer business. What must you do to obtain this goal or desire? Well foremost you need a plan. What should this plan involve? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Determine if you have a realistic goal. If not then see if you can break the goal down to more reasonable parts or even to a more reasonable goal.

  2. Determine what is needed to obtain this goal

  3. Identify possible resources necessary to accomplish each stage of your plan

  4. Investigate the possible resources to determine which is best to access

  5. Begin implementing your plan

  6. Evaluate your progress periodically and alter your plans if necessary

You will have a long-term plan as well as a short-term plan. That’s enough of planning since that is not the scope of this study. Now you may say to yourself, "When are we going to start talking about believing God and having faith?" Let’s discuss that now.

Believing God for What You Want

The word of faith movement teach us that we should just ask God for what we want, believe that we receive it, and we will have it. There is usually an clause that basically states that you must tithe or support some ministry in order to get your needs or wants met. The scripture that is usually used to support the "say it, believe it, and receive it" teaching is Mark 11:23-24. Let’s look at that now.

(Mark 11:23-24 KJV) For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. {24} Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

You may holler amen at this verse. However, a very important part is usually left out. This missing piece is verse 22. Verse 22 says "Have Faith in God." It is not by our own faith that we can do anything. We can only operate within the confines of the Kingdom of God. We can only access the resources that God has provided us. We can only receive from God if he wants to give it to us. God does not honor faith in a specific sense. He has provided all that we would ever need or want. It is up to us to lay hold of it according to His will of course. However, realize that just because God doesn’t have something available for you or that he doesn’t want you to have doesn’t mean that you can’t get it. Doing this would simply be going outside of His will. Another thing that we have to consider, therefore, is the following.

(1 John 5:14-15 KJV) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: {15} And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

I am sure that you realize by now that the name it and claim it teaching doesn’t work. It doesn’t work not because you don’t have enough faith. It’s not your faith that counts but faith (reliance upon, depending totally on) in God that matters. It what God does and has provided for us that matters and not our great faith to cause things to happen. Do you think that you have more faith than Paul, Peter, or John? Wouldn’t you think that if great faith was all that was needed that these great men of faith would indeed have avoided their various perilous circumstances or that they would never have suffered. Don’t you think that by faith John would never have gone to Patmos? Ah you may say that it was God’s will for these things to happen. Then who do you think that you are to expect to receive any or all of your desires just by asking. Suppose it’s not God’s will that you have a new Mercedes Benz?

My point is that there is a lot more involved with getting the things that you want then just saying that you receive it and expecting to receive it. This promotes laziness and you know the results of that don’t you?

(Prov 10:4 NIV) Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Are you lazy or diligent? Are you only asking God for stuff and expecting it to drop out of the sky or are you doing something about what you want in addition to praying to God about it? If you are just "believing God" as the faith movement teaches, then you are lazy or at the least ignorant of the receiving process. If you are "believing" God and doing something about it, that is, acting on the faith you have in God or even acting on his mercy and grace, then you are diligent. This principle is throughout the Bible.

This principle is very much related to the seed principle, which is especially revealed in Matthew 13 and Mark chapter 4. Jesus used the seed analogy to reveal to us the Kingdom of God. A seed is planted, watered, nurtured, it grows, and then produces fruit. In other words, there is work involved to get the seed to grow into the fruit that you want. Therefore, we must work for the things that we want as best we can. I do understand that there will be situations where there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it except trust the Lord to bail you out. That is OK but even in those situations you always stand poised to do what God instructs you to do. You always stand poised for action.

Diligence in your Pursuit (Asking)

We said that to believe God and nothing else is laziness. You don’t want to take the responsibility to pursue the things that you want. Instead, you expect to follow a formula that you were given (tithe and get all your needs met for example) and then God will miraculously give you what you want. Yes God can and will intervene for you. However, you cannot sit idly by and expect God to "do all of the work!" Let’s look at some scriptures that reveal the principle of diligence or acting on your faith.

(Mat 7:24-25 KJV) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Do you see it here? You hear the word but that’s not all. You also do what it says. You act on the word of God. Look at this verse as well.

(James 2:17 KJV) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

(James 2:20 KJV) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

So faith alone (faith in Christ in this case) is nothing without corresponding actions that support this faith. So what have I said so far? I have said two things. One believe God but in the context of what he has said or made available to you. Do something about what you want!

Consider the Old Testament conflicts of the Israelites. They went to God on many occasions for assistance. There were prophets that prayed to God and where the mouthpiece to God. However, after making requests to God they did not stand idly by expecting God to do the work even if God’s intervention resulted in a miracle (Such as Jericho). They obeyed God and the corresponding result occurred. The same applies to us. We can ask God for things but we still have to actively pursue the thing that we ask. We have to do our part in receiving it so that the Holy Spirit can direct us to it. Therefore, receiving is more activity then just waiting around for something to happen.

The Process

Now let’s talk about the process that you can use to get what you want. Note that these things are very practical. Later on we will see what the role of believing God has to do with all that we have said so far.

Work

If you will be real with yourself you will have to admit that you have to work for the things that you want. This does not mean that you will not experience gifts of which you did not specifically work for. That’s OK but you can’t live your life assuming that you will receive gifts to get the things that you want. You will have to do something in order to get the things that you want or to accomplish the things that you want to do. Passivity is laziness unless there is truly nothing you can do put rely on the mercies of God. I like what Paul said about work.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 through 2 Thessalonians 3:12 (NKJV) 6But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

10For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

We must consider the context here, which is people who thought for one reason or another that they did not have to work and rely on others to meet their needs. Paul teaches that we should work to make a living and not be a burden on someone else. What I wanted to point out is the fact that work is not unbiblical.

Now what have you been doing to obtain the thing that you want? Have you been believing God or have you been believing God and doing something about that trust? If you have been doing nothing then why should expect something.

Resources

What resources are available to you to use? We have said earlier that God owns everything. Therefore, technically everything is available to you unless for some specific reason God withholds something from you. Have you been making your desires known? Have you been looking for ways to accomplish your goal or dream? Have you actively pursued those things that you wanted or have you been waiting to receive?

Resources usually include people. People can help you get the things that you want. If more people know that you need or want something then you increase your chances of getting it. You even increase your chances of someone just giving you what you want with no cost attached. The point that I am trying to make here is that you have to get up and pursue the things you want by pursuing resources that can help you on the way to getting what you want or need. Don’t just sit around expecting God to drop things out of the sky.

Faith

Now we see that we have to work to obtain the things that we want. Working does not mean just having a 9-to-5 job. It means that you have to do something to get what you want. This may usually include the 9-to-5- job however. What about faith in God? How can I reconcile faith in God and the practical things that we have discussed so far? Here are some suggestions.

Keep in mind that what we ask for should be evaluated for motive else we cannot rely on God to meet the need if the motive is wrong. So how can I trust God to get the things that I want? Realize one more point. You will probably not see a scripture that promises what you specifically want. For example suppose you want a BMW. You will not find a scripture where God promises you a BMW. So where does your faith fit in then? Let’s look at some more verses first.

Psalm 37:3 through Psalm 37:4 (NKJV) 3Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Consider the dependant desire here. If you delight yourself in the Lord then he will influence you. This means that your heart will tend towards godly things and your desires will therefore follow.

John 15:7 (NCV) 7If you remain in me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it will be given to you.

Again we see that abiding in the teachings of Christ can influence the desires that we have. Therefore, this will tend to produce righteous desires if you will. This is the only way that Jesus could say that we will have whatever we ask—because we abide in His word and that word transforms our lives thus our desires.

There are also other scriptures that show how God will prosper the things that we do. See Psalm 1:1-3 for example or Joshua 1:8.

What do these scripture seem to tell us? They seem to tell us that God will give us the things that we desire (want) if we abide in His teachings (and obey them). Also, our desires will become righteous desires since we are spending so much time "Delighting in the Lord." So the environment that you need to have in order to expect God to give you the things you want is one of abiding in Him (His word). This will transform us as well as our desires by the power of His word.

Faith and Works

Now our faith is more a responsibility then a way to riches. We have to be responsible to know what God said so that we can rightfully trust him for things (See 1 John 5:14-15). First there is something that I would like to suggest purely as an opinion of mine. I believe that there are many things that don’t make a difference to God. For example, I don’t think that it typically matters to God what type of car you drive. Therefore, it is up to us to ask God for what we want and rely on Him to give it to us in addition to doing something about getting it.

Consider the expression of a very important principle that is given in James 2:14-26. This verse is specifically talking about "saving faith" and not necessarily any kind of faith such as to believe God for a new car. So our faith should have corresponding action (the fruits of the Spirit). This principle applies to all aspects of our lives. Doing something about what you want does not demonstrate a lack of faith in God. As a matter of fact, you can consider that your activity is a result of your trust in God. Why else would you begin to get actively involved in reaching your goal or acquiring your desire? You trust God to either allow you to succeed (bless your activity) or you believe that He is going to give it to you.

Summary

What have we learned in this lesson? We have learned above all that we should get actively involved in acquiring the things that we want instead of sitting back and "believing God." We do have to put our faith in what God said but we still have to do something to get the things that we want. Our activities do not hinder God or demonstrate a lack of faith. Our activity is due to our faith and confident in God and that we will achieve the goal.

So if you want something then you should ask for it. If you desire something from God, since he owns everything, then you should ask Him confidently for it. Expect to receive what you ask God for as you work to achieve it. So there is a lot more to asking then you first thought. Asking involves activity not passivity. So ask and receive (Matthew 7:7).

What should you do now? Develop a strong personal fellowship with God. Abide in His word and live that word. Feel free to ask him for anything that you want. Begin to pursue your desires and work to achieve them. God is not withholding anything from you in general. Be sensitive to his voice in the event he does say no. The important thing is that you pursue your goals and dreams. It is a gift of God to enjoy the fruits of you labor. It is also our duty to revere God and do what he says. So Ask and receive, do and achieve.

                                                                                                -Pastor William R. Cunningham

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