My Desires and God’s Glory

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the personal desires we have in light of God’s purpose and will. So many of our desires are good, God given desires: relationships, children, careers, ministries, etc. We are not wrong in desiring different things in life, unless they are blatantly sinful desires or wants. Of course, even good desires can turn sinful if we allow them to become idols or obsessions. But, generally speaking, desiring certain things is not wrong. In fact, according to Scripture, we are supposed to desire good things. However, we must also consider that God has a specific will and purpose for our life. How do our desires and God’s will go together?

Scripture tells us that God will give us the desires of our hearts when we delight in him (Ps 37:4). We are also told that we can pray for anything and the Lord will grant it (Matt 7:7, Phil 4:6, I Jn 5:14). Not only has he given us certain desires, but he actually invites us to seek him for the fulfillment of those desires. But, what happens when we truly are living in Christ and seeking the Lord daily and still find our desires aren’t met? Has God failed? Have we failed? Is there some other element we are totally missing?

In my life, the most prominent unmet desire has been my want to be married. Although, I do still go back and forth between wanting to be married and wanting to stay single. I wrote more about that here. But, for the most part, I do desire to be married and I know it’s a good desire to have. Biblical marriage is an amazing example of the gospel and can be an incredible way to further God’s kingdom. Also, it is something that only takes place this side of eternity (Matt 22:30). I don’t want to miss out on that. I want to be a part of something that displays Christ’s relationship with his church. I want to go through the bright joys and deep dark places of life with a partner- challenging one another, pushing one another, refining one another, and encouraging one another to look more like Christ. However, for some reason, I am still single. I (imperfectly) desire to grow in wisdom and to live in total submission to God. I pray constantly for him to bless me with a godly husband. I pray constantly for him to mold me into a woman capable of being a godly wife. But, still, I’m single. It can sometimes be downright frustrating. He tells me he will give me the desires of my heart. He tells me to ask and I will receive. But, for some reason, not this. Why?

The answer I have found is, first and foremost, God must be glorified in all things. He wills and purposes whatever is going to bring him the most glory. Think about the cross. Christ desired for it to be taken from him. He prayed to the Father, pleading with him to remove the burden (Matt 26:36-44). But, ultimately, Christ desired the Father’s will above his own. He desired the Father’s glory above all else. So, he was obedient even unto his own death (Phil 2:8). He submitted to the Father even when it was against his own desire. He knew that obedience and living for the Father’s glory was more important than what he wanted. In fact, the one desire he had that far outweighed the rest was his desire for the Father’s will to be done in and through him. Christ was willing to surrender his own desire in order for the Father to be glorified above all else. In this sacrifice of Christ, we see the greatest example of God’s glory.

This is where I find myself today. Yes, I desire to be married and I will continue to pray for that desire to be met. However, God’s glory is what ultimately matters in life. I must always seek his will above my own. I must always seek to bring him glory every single day and in every single circumstance. Today, I am single. Today, I choose to use my singleness for his glory. I will continue to pray for a godly husband. But, more importantly, I will pray for him to do in me whatever will bring him the most glory. Yes, my desire for marriage is good. But, God’s glory is far better.

Monday Musings: Rebellion and Grace

I’m leading a study on Isaiah and, as I read through the book, I have the same reaction I always have reading the Old Testament: how in the world could Israel have been so rebellious? Time and time again Israel turned completely away from God. Even in times when God had just spoken to them or done a miraculous work right in front of them- somehow they still chose to completely forsake God and his holiness. And, while I’m reading, I always have this haughty attitude towards them.

Of course, as quick as I am to be judgmental, I realize, ‘Oh, wait. That’s you, Katie.’ How many times has God spoken to me through his word? How many times has he done amazing things in my life? And, in the midst of his blessing and goodness, how many times have I rebelled against him? Of course, it plays out in different ways than the Israelites, but my heart is still the same as theirs. One main way I see this is idol worship. No, I don’t worship other gods or have visible idols before him. But, I still practice idolatry. Whether it’s obsessing over my relationship status or work status or financial status or a multitude of desires I have, I’m constantly being distracted from the Lord and his holiness. I’m allowing all these other things to cloud out what he is teaching me and how he is blessing me. It’s appalling to me when I think about how many times I have placed my trust in things other than God. Just like Israel, I choose the way of the world far too often. As I read Isaiah, I can’t help but pity myself as I pity them. I can’t help but be disheartened by the similarities I see in my own life.
But, thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. All throughout Isaiah (and the rest of scripture) God’s grace shines through. God’s people rebel. He draws them back in. Over and over again God offers forgiveness and covers his people in grace.  And, there’s one way in which God offers his ultimate grace and forgiveness- the cross of Jesus Christ. Humanity is in complete rebellion towards God. Humanity deserves nothing less than total wrath and complete destruction. Yet, in God’s kindness and grace, he sent his own son as the payment for our rebellion so that we could be reconciled to him. I am so thankful for redemption in Christ. I am so thankful he drew me in all those years ago. Yes, I’m still in the flesh. I still fall into rebellion. I still find myself choosing the world at times. But, through the Holy Spirit, I’m constantly being drawn back to God’s grace. He’s always pursuing me. He’s always reminding me of the cross. 
So, as I continue to study Isaiah, I’ll remember my own rebellion. I’ll remember my own ignorance in choosing worldly ambitions over God. And, I’ll always remember the grace and redemption I’ve found in the cross. 
My rebellion is great. But, God’s grace is greater. 

Monday Musings- When I Realize Life Isn’t About Me

There are times in my life where stresses start stacking up in everything. Work, church, and life all seem to be too overwhelming. I’m confused, frustrated, annoyed, and feeling extremely inadequate. These are the moments I become the most selfish. I start feeling really sorry for myself and complain and whine about how unfair life is. You know, the whole ‘woe is me’ bit. I start to think that everything is about me. This usually lasts for a few days and then Jesus abruptly interrupts to remind me that it isn’t about me. He bluntly says, ‘Katie, it’s not about you even a little bit.’ 

This is where I am today. Christ reminding me of the gospel. Christ reminding me of what he did for me in his death and resurrection. Christ reminding me that really it’s all about him and his kingdom. It’s a sobering experience. Coming to the place of complete undoing. Coming to the place of realizing I really am inadequate. Coming to the place of understanding I am nothing without Christ. My life is to be a reflection of him. My life is to always be glorifying to him. 
I’m continually having to be reminded that sometimes the confusion and frustration of life is what pushes me to depend on him even more. In those moments, he breaks me in order to redirect me. I’ve become too comfortable with myself. I’ve started puffing myself up too much thinking, ‘Man, I’m doing some awesome things.’ He has to knock me down for me to realize it’s all about him. It’s all about the gospel. It’s all about sacrificing myself and my comforts for him and his kingdom. It’s hard, and it can get pretty ugly. But, then I remember the cross was hard. The cross was ugly. And it ushered in a new and glorious day. A day in which Christ reigns victorious and brings new life to a sick a dying world. That’s what it’s about, folks. And that’s what I will cling to today. 
‘But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.’ Philippians 3:7,8