What Do We Expect?

I just want to share a portion of a book that I read last January entitled, “DON’T FOLLOW YOUR HEART” by Jon Bloom. It’s a 31-day devotional book and here is one of the best parts. I hope you will learn from this:


WHAT DO WE EXPECT?

(c) Jon Bloom

If we ask God for greater, deeper love for him, what should we expect to receive? Answers that give us a greater awareness of our deep and pervasive sinful depravity, because those who are forgiven much, love much, but those who are forgiven little, love little (Luke 7:47).

If we ask God to help us love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31), what should we expect to receive? Answers that force us to give unplanned attention to a neighbor, perhaps an unexpected neighbor (Luke 10:29), which feel inconvenient and irritating.

If we ask for God’s nearness because we believe that it is good for us to be near God (Ps. 73:28), what should we expect to receive? Answers that break our hearts, for God is near to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18).

If we ask God to make us living sacrifices (Rom. 12:2), what should we expect to receive? Answers that break and humble our hearts, because the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit (Ps. 51:17).

If we ask God for a deeper experience of his grace, what should we expect to receive? Answers that oppose our pride and humble our hearts (James 4:6).

If we ask God for his kingdom to come (Matt. 6:10) in our own lives and in the world around us, what should we expect to receive? Answers that reveal our deep spiritual poverty, because the kingdom is given to the poor in spirit (Matt. 5:3).

If we ask God to satisfy us with himself so that we aren’t so easily satisfied by the world’s mud puddles, what should we expect to receive? Answers that cause us to be increasingly aware of the evil and suffering and injustices of the world, because those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied (Matt. 5:6).

If we ask God for greater wisdom and discernment, what should we expect to receive? A steady stream of mind-bending, confusing answers that are difficult to understand and work through, because our powers of discernment are trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (Heb. 5:14).

If we ask God to “increase our faith” (Luke 17:5), what should we expect to receive? Repeatedly being placed in situations where we discover that our perceptions are not trustworthy so that we are forced to trust Christ’s promises, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

If we ask God to help us “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Col. 1:10), what should we expect to receive? Answers that require more humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love (Eph. 4:2) than we thought possible and might result in destitution, affliction, and mistreatment, like many saints throughout history “of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:38).

If we ask God to help us stop serving money so that we can serve him more wholeheartedly, what should we expect to receive? An uncomfortable amount of opportunities to give money away, expenses that deplete reserves we’ve been stashing away, maybe even a job loss—answers that push us to despise (ignore, turn away from, release) money and cling to God (Luke 16:13).

If we ask for our joy to be made more full (John 16:24), to experience more happiness in God, what should we expect to receive? Answers that cause us to find earthly joys we once thought gain to become empty, hollow, and loss and to push us to search for the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus and find him as gain above all else (Phil. 3:8).

When God begins to answer our prayers, we often find his answers disorienting. Circumstances might take unexpected courses, health might deteriorate, painful relational dynamics might develop, financial difficulties might occur, and spiritual and emotional struggles might emerge that seem unconnected to our prayers, and we can feel like we’re digressing from not progressing toward the sanctification we desire. We cry out in painful confusion and exasperation (Ps. 13:1; Job 30:20), when what’s really happening is that God is answering our prayers. We just expected the answer to look and feel different.


 

If you are sick and tired of following your heart, then this book is the best one for you to read right now (I highly recommend this book). It will help you follow Jesus by resisting your heart’s errant predilections and directing it to do all God’s will.  Let’s follow GOD. Not our hearts.


Sharing to you one of my favorite songs:

“Have Your way with me, O God
In the temple of my heart
Let reverent love and holy awe
Be lifted unto You
The truth my inmost being claim
Til sin and shadows flee away
Teach my feet to love Your ways
And run the way You choose”

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