There are times that my motivation to do what I know I ought to do is … well, seriously lacking. Sometimes, I just don’t WANT to do the right thing.
Now I’m not saying that I want to do the WRONG thing. (That’s also an issue, from time to time. But it is one for another devotional.) I’m confessing that there are times where I’m too tired, or too lazy, or too overwhelmed, too distracted or too whatever-it-may-be; and I just don’t want to do the thing I am supposed to be doing. And I know I am not the only one.
I’m reminded of the story of Tim’s mother noticing that he had not come down to the Sunday morning breakfast, so she went to his room to look in on him. She knocked gently on the door and peeked in to see what the matter was, asking Tim if he was OK. His reply was quick and direct.
“I don’t WANT to get up this morning. I don’t want to have to get all dressed up in fancy clothes. I don’t want to go to church. I’m sick and tired of it. I have to do it week after week, and I’ve had enough. WHY DO I HAVE TO GO?”
“Well,” his mother explained, “You’re the pastor!”
Thanks be to God for today’s verse.
GOD IS WORKING IN YOU, GIVING YOU THE DESIRE AND THE POWER TO DO WHAT PLEASES HIM.
God is always working in us. His skill, wisdom, knowledge, insight, gifts — they are working in us. And He, by His grace, continues to place within us that which we need to impact those around us with His grace.
It is good that He gives us the POWER to do the things He has called us to do. I’m grateful. But for me, I appreciate the DESIRE that He places within me even more. We need to let His desire strengthen us; especially when we do not find it within ourselves.
“Lord, GIVE ME THE DESIRE to do what You have for me to do.” That is a prayer we must all pray from time to time; but it is a prayer He is happy to answer. Because He is working in you, and He gives us that which we need.
Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I’ve heard people try to use that verse as some sort of a blanket promise that God will give them whatever they want, just as long as they delight in Him. Let me disabuse you of that childish notion, if I may. Today’s New Testament verse is an excellent interpretation of that Old Testament one.
Far from being a carte-blanche promising you the bigger house, nicer clothes or faster car; God is promising those who delight in Him that He will work to change their hearts. As we focus upon Him, and allow Him to move within us, He makes our desires match His desires. We come to be more and more like Him, and so we begin to desire what he desires in greater and greater measure. He works in us. He gives us the desire to do what pleases Him. Then, He gives us the power to walk it out and actually DO His will.
One final thought. If you’re getting “bored” in church, and feeling like you’ve been sitting there listening FOREVER and not really been doing anything; perhaps THAT is God working in you and giving you the desire to TAKE HIS KINGDOM OUTSIDE THE CHURCH INTO THE WORLD.
As the Church, we are called to bring the message of the gospel to the world. They need to know Jesus. We are the only ones who can bring His life, love and liberty to them; we have received His commission to be His hands, His feet and His voice.
PRAY and ask God to work in you, and to give you THE DESIRE and the POWER to do what pleases Him.
Then get up and do it. Even if, initially, you don’t want to. You’ll find that His working in you WILL create the desire. It really will.