If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
– Luke 9:23
Do not love the world nor the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
– 1 John 2:15
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
– Romans 12:2
But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
– 1 Corinthians 9:27
Satisfying our own desires drives most of what we do, most of the time. Our culture (especially the middle-class American Dream culture) reinforces that drive thousands of times a day. Practically everything we see and hear reinforces it. We’re so used to it that anyone who suggests we “don’t deserve” something, or should say “no” to something we desire is just a voice crying in the wilderness.
Here’s the good news:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
But I read this verse differently than I used to. He’s not trying to motivate me to do the right thing, like bribing a kid with a piece of candy; “If I delight in the Lord, He’ll give me a red Ferrari.” He’s not telling us how to earn the things we long for.
If we’re delighting in the Lord, the desires of our heart will be for the things He’s dying to give us (or more literally, that Jesus already died to give us). Things like love, righteousness, and justice.
Our delight drives us to make choices and take actions that reinforce that delight. If we delight in someone, we go out of our way to do things to please him or her. The free will God gave us allows us to make intentional choices that show our delight in Him.
What intentional choices have you made today to deny yourself and reinforce your delight in God?
Make a choice today about how you’ll deny yourself to delight in Him tomorrow.