Wedding Supper of the LambGod has called every leader in the Marketplace to an adventure. That adventure leads to an assignment – an assignment where the life of Jesus Christ will so shine that others will see the good work and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16; John 1:4). That assignment is the work of God that the word of God will prepare the Marketplace Leader to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). It will include the Great Commission – making disciples – and it will produce transformation in people and communities.

As we learned in The Map Maker, we don’t get to determine our adventure. Well, we can; but, in doing so, we may be pursuing an adventure that does not include God; and an assignment that will be unfruitful. This is one of the most tragic mistakes that followers of Jesus make: They fail to follow.

So, how does a follower of Jesus Christ discover the adventure and assignment God has prepared for them? It all begins – the adventure leading to the assignment – with the revelation of their heart’s desire.

That’s right; there is a desire in the heart of every Marketplace Leader for this season of their life. It is a desire that God has placed there, even before time began. It is a desire that He shares – a heart-tie with God. It is a desire that He has promised to give.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

So, how do we discern the desire of our heart? We search it out.

Searching Out the Matter of Our Heart’s Desire

Desire (Hebrew; mish’alah): Request, petition, desire; from sha’al (to ask, enquire, borrow, beg, demand)

Desire (Greek; thelō.): To will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

As with most Hebrew and Greek words, our Americanized translations loose a great deal of their meaning. From the Hebrew we learn that desire is not a passive verb. It includes definitive action. The Greek goes further; projecting into the future (intend, purpose), and incorporating a sense of passion (love, delight, pleasure). Keep this in mind as we search out the passages of Scripture that speak to the desires of the heart.

Desire has a bad reputation in some circles; and that’s understandable. Here are a few reasons why:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. Deuteronomy 5:21

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 1Timothy 6:9

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. James 1:14-15

Clearly, there are evil desires; desires that are our own; desires of our flesh. Such desires lead to death; and nobody wants that. Regrettably, many – in an effort to avoid death inducing desires – have developed a fear of all desire; even desires of the heart.

At this point, it is good to take a moment and remember that all born-again followers of Jesus Christ have been given a new heart.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:26-27

Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38

The heart of the believer is a heart that is alive to God and His desires. It is a heart that He will use to accomplish His will on the Earth.

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 1Corinthians 14:1

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2Timothy 3:12

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1Peter 2:1-3

Clearly, there are good desires: Spiritual gifts, the pure milk of the word, and to live godly Christ Jesus. These are just three of many verses that speak to the good desires that God has placed in our hearts. So, how do we discern the good from the bad? A great place to start is the word of God.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13

The word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. In other words, it proves the condition of our heart.

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

Notice that the word of God does not return void, but accomplishes – even prospers in – what He intends. Now, take a look at a well know parable.

And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?  The sower sows the word.  And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.  These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.  Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mark 4:13-20

How does God’s word accomplish what He intends in the ones that have it taken away, or fail to endure, or stumble, of produce no fruit? Simply put, the word of God proves the condition of their heart. They did not have a heart that would produce much fruit.

This is, indeed, a very sobering truth. It is possible that our hearts need to be plowed and purged of some hard places. Perhaps some disbelief has set it. Perhaps we have let some things of this world distract our hearts from the One that gave it to us. This is certainly the desire of His heart, and He is more than able to do the necessary work.

This seems like a good place to pause in our searching out this matter of desire. If the Lord allows, we will dig deeper in a future post. In the meantime, meditate on the following verses. Allow the Lord and the Holy Spirit to teach you and transform you, by the renewing of your mind, into the image of the Lord’s glory. Ask the Father for His mercy, forgiveness and deliverance.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1John 1:8-10

God bless you with strength and courage to walk in the adventure He has planned for you. Trust in Him and He will accomplish it.

Humbly yours and forever His,

NOTE:  Click here to continue with Part 2 of this series.