Posts tagged ‘desire’

Are You Listening?

But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.  Hosea 2:14

It seems as though Israel was in a constant state of rebellion as we read the Old Testament. They were constantly seeking the gods of the people all around them. For some reason they preferred to worship idols much of the time rather than the living God. I don’t know about you, but I can understand that. The idols may be different today, but the struggle is the same – will we worship God or the things of this earth?

I take comfort in the fact that God constantly takes me back to where I need to be, no matter how many times I stray from His side. That’s the point of Hosea. God never gives up on you and me. When He gets our attention, He often takes us back to the desert where He wrote His law on tablets of stone. We think of the law as being a set of rules. We don’t see the love there. But as we read in Hosea 2:14, God tenderly speaks to us in the desert, in His law.

Consider what God said when He gave the law to Israel, “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.” (Exodus 20:1)  That was not a promise, it was a reality. And it can be a reality for each one of us today. There may be nothing more comforting to know than this fact: God pursues you and loves you even when you are sinning. He wants to rescue you. So, what consumes your thoughts throughout the day? What do you fear? What is your addiction? What is the thing you struggle with most? The list is long. It includes things like money, power, position, recognition, attention, sex, to name just a few. 

Today, God promises to take you to the desert, to speak to you through His Word, through other people, through circumstances of life, and through the Holy Spirit. God never gives up on you. He is constantly wooing you, seeking you, calling you, desiring you, and inviting you to the wilderness with Him. It’s kind of like a date with that one special person in your life. God wants to be alone with you and speak to you tenderly. Are you listening? Will you accept His offer today to be alone with Him, away from the distractions of the world? Give yourself a chance to get away from your fears and listen to God. He has something amazing to tell you. It’s the same thing He told the Israelites in there desert place, “You must not have any other god before Me.” (Exodus 20:2) I want to take Him up on His offer. What about you?

Circumcision

In my career as an obstetrician before I became a pastor, I performed thousands of circumcisions. They were quick and easy to perform. The primary issue was the pain the procedure would cause. And as with any medical procedure, a consent form was required to be signed by the parent or legal guardian before I would perform the surgery.

In the Old Testament, circumcision was a sign that you had accepted God’s covenant and His lordship in your life. In the New Testament, we see the spiritual application of this procedure as having real life consequences. We read in Colossians 2:11, When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 

What a promise! Do we realize the good news contained in the fact that Jesus will perform a spiritual circumcision on our heart? And all we have to do is invite Him into our heart! To the Master Surgeon, circumcision is a simple procedure. It will be painful, for sure. And it requires us to sign a consent form to be signed by us. But the rewards are literally out of this world that begin with a change in our evil desires! Paul alludes to this fact in verse 23 where he states that the ceremonial law which points forward to Jesus, could “provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” But by cutting away our sinful nature, our desires are changed. When our desires our changed, our behavior changes. And we have done nothing but submit to a procedure that our Savior does masterfully! The issue is whether we want our evil desires to be changed. Think about it. Thank about your desires. A desire is something you really want. If you really want something, it is hard to make a decision to allow Jesus to transform you to the point that you don’t want it anymore. It’s a painful procedure and one that can fill us with anxiety.

It is painful and provokes anxiety because we want what we want and we want it now. We want to be free. We think that freedom means pursuing our desires. But our evil desires always result in more pain at some point in the future. What we fail to realize is that true freedom only comes when we are free in Christ. This means we allow Christ into our hearts to perform this simplest of procedures.

You see, we are actually bound by our desires. Evil desires lead to behaviors that may feel great at the time, but always cause pain in the end. This pain is much worse than the pain of a spiritual circumcision that leads to a life of peace, contentment, and joy. So the issue comes down to this simple question: Will I submit to the pain of a spiritual circumcision today, or would I rather endure the pain of my evil desires tomorrow?

 

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