Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Desire for What He has Already Given Us

I realized this morning that I spend a lot of time praying for things God has already given me. I pray for patience, love for others, compassion, discernment. Or I pray He would remove a character trait or behavior. But this morning I realized that I’ve missed the point of 2 Peter 1:3-4: 

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Truly amazing! God has given us everything we need for godliness. Yet when we look at the end of the passage we see a disconnect: and that is evil desires. It isn't the qualities of God that are lacking, it is our desire for them.

It almost knocked me off my chair when I realized that I don’t need to be praying that God will remove a critical spirit from my life, or disorganization or jealousy or whatever it is any of us prays for God to eradicate. What I need to pray for is the desire to not be critical and the desire to be organized. I can pray all day long for God to remove a critical spirit from my life, but if I don’t truly desire for it to be removed, it won’t be removed! And the reason we don’t desire a particular sin to be removed is because we are still somehow enamored with it. We still desire it’s presence more than we desire its absence! Our corruption remains due to our evil desires.

It’s like a little boy praying that God would clean his room, even though the child doesn’t really desire a clean room. He may be praying for a clean room to get his parents off his back, or because his friend is coming over, or because he just knows that a clean room is what good children should have. But the child really doesn’t desire a clean room. 

When it comes to sin, we may be praying for a sin like gossip to be removed, but secretly clinging to our warped love of that sin. We may pray for gossip to be removed because we know it’s wrong, or because we feel guilty after wards, or because we want to be more like so and so who never says a bad word about anyone! But until we truly pray out of a pure desire to not gossip--meaning that our desire is to line up with God's desires--that sin will most likely remain.

2 Peter tells us that God has given us “everything” for godliness. In 2 Peter 1:5-7 we read that we are to add to our faith "goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” 

God has given us these qualities as a baseline, if you will. Only He can activate and increase them in us when it is our desire that He do so.

So my prayer this morning is not for God’s grace, mercy, truth, compassion, etc. My prayer is for the desire to live in the mercy, truth, compassion, wisdom, discernment, and love that He has already put inside of me, and to do so in increasing measure. I thank God for the fruits of His Spirit that I have only today fully realized already live in me; that He has so generously promised and provided everything I need to be in His will in all areas of life.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.” Galatians 5:16-17

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25

“I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8

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