Do You Delight In God Solely so You Can Get What You Want?

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically today’s passage begins with the thirty-fourth verse of the tenth chapter and continues through to the fourteenth verse of the eleventh chapter. “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and. The other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of: and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them: and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:35-45). “And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way” (Mark 10:46-52). “And when they came night to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? Say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them god. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve” (Mark 11:1-11). “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves: for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, NO man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it” (Mark 11:12-14). When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will find at the very center and forefront of the narrative James and John the sons of Zebedee. What makes this particular narrative so incredibly unique and interesting when you take the time to think about it is when you consider how John Mark writes and describes these two sons of Zebedee as coming unto the Lord Jesus bringing with them a very specific request. Upon reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find John Mark describing how James and John the sons of Zebedee came unto the Lord Jesus with a very specific request—namely that He would grant unto them that they might sit one on his right hand and the other on his left. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous request these two sons of Zebedee brought before and unto the Lord Jesus for these disciples would come unto the Lord Jesus asking for something that was actually pretty brazen and pretty bold. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this passage for these two disciples actually believed that they could possibly be granted their request. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you get the strong sense that they did indeed believe themselves to be able to receive this request from the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that when I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but be brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the request which these disciples had made of the Lord Jesus. These two disciples would come unto the Lord Jesus asking Him for something that He would not give them in this life but rather something they would give them in the next. The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding these two disciples and how they did indeed and did in fact believe that Jesus would and could grant unto them this request. The words and language found in this passage of Scripture seems to indicate these disciples came unto the Lord Jesus thinking and believing that He would actually grant unto them their request. Oh I have to admit that I find myself wondering what caused these two disciples to desire such a thing—and not only desire such a thing but also to come unto the presence of the Lord Jesus and voice this request. What would be present within the hearts of these disciples that would ask Jesus for such a position and place of prominence and prestige within the kingdom of heaven? What went through the hearts of these disciples prior to coming unto the Lord Jesus that would cause them to come unto His presence and ask Him for such a request? There is something truly unique when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to something that can indeed be present within our hearts—and not only be present within our hearts but can also cause us great harm and damage if we allow it to go unchecked and unchallenged. I sit here today thinking about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that at the very heart of this request is nothing more than pride and arrogance. What’s more is that when we read the words found in this passage of Scripture we must recognize how it is intrinsically linked and connected to the discussion(s) and conversation(s) the disciples had with themselves—and not only with themselves but also with the Lord Jesus concerning who among them was the greatest. Stop and consider how these disciples would walk with and follow the Lord Jesus in the flesh for three and a half years and on more than one occasion they would allow themselves to get caught up in thinking and believing that one of them could be the greatest. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to something that would indeed be present within our hearts. There is something which must needs be carefully considered when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the inherent danger of pride and arrogance within our heart. We must needs recognize and understand just how incredibly significant this truly is when we actually allow ourselves to pay attention to and focus upon it. The brothers James and John—the sons of Zebedee—would come unto the Lord Jesus asking that He would grant unto them whatsoever they would desire without actually saying what they actually desired. OH please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage for within we encounter the incredible truth surrounding these two disciples and how they would indeed come unto the presence of the Lord Jesus asking Him to grant unto them whatsoever they desired. If there is one thing I can’t help but think about when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s how these two disciples—these two disciples whom Jesus would refer to as “The sons of thunder”—would come unto the Lord Jesus asking Him that He would grant unto them whatsoever they desired. What we must needs acknowledge when reading the words which are found in this passage of scripture it’s not only the disciples coming unto the Lord Jesus making their request known of Him but also their coming unto the Lord Jesus with something they desired within their hearts. The disciples of the Lord Jesus would indeed come unto Him into His presence asking Him that He would grant unto them whatsoever they desired. It’s actually quite unique and astounding when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture for they would not immediately come out and tell the Lord Jesus what it was they desired. We would be incredibly naïve to think and believe that Jesus was not aware of that which they desired and that which they sought after when they came unto Him and entered into His presence. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that Jesus was indeed aware of their hearts and that which they were going to present unto Him. I find it very hard to believe that the same Jesus who was able to perceive within Himself the murmurings and grumblings of the religious leaders as well as the discussions and disputes His disciples had among themselves was not acutely and keenly aware of that which the disciples thought within their hearts on this particular occasion. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that the Lord Jesus was indeed very much aware of that which these two disciples were going to ask Him when they came unto His presence. What makes this passage so incredibly unique when you take the time to think about it is how they would come unto the Lord Jesus with something they desired within their hearts. I have to admit that I am not so much interested in the desire itself as much as I am the foundation of the desire. There can and must be absolutely no mistake about the words and language found in this passage of Scripture for within it we find both the desire as well as the root of the desire. We dare not and must not read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the desire which was present within the hearts and souls of these disciples. These two disciples would come into the presence of Jesus with a desire and something they desired within themselves which they sought that He would grant unto them. Perhaps the greatest truth that is found in this passage of Scripture is not only the desire itself but also that which fueled the desire within the hearts of the disciples. What’s more is that I am reminded of the words which the psalmist David wrote in the Old Testament book of Psalms. You will recall when reading the Old Testament book of the Psalms how David emphatically declared and professed that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He will give us the desires of our heart. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for there are those who would think and even believe that this passage indicates that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He will give us that which we desire. There are those who would read the words found in this passage of Scripture and think and believe that the Lord Jesus can and will give us the desires that are in our heart if we delight ourselves in Him. I have to admit the more I read the words found in this Old Testament book of the Psalms the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding our delighting ourselves in the LORD and His giving us the desires of our heart. I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I’m brought face to face with the incredible naivete that can indeed be present within our hearts for when we think about and consider the words and the actual implication and meaning of them we must needs come face to face with the fact that this passage and text does not at all indicate that if we delight ourselves in the LORD that He will give us that which we desire within our heart. I have to admit that the more I read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding that which David actually meant for I do not believe that David at all believed that if we delighted ourselves in the LORD that He would give us that which we desired within our hearts. I firmly believe that when we read the words found in this passage of Scripture we are brought face to face with the tremendous truth that if we do indeed and do in fact delight ourselves in the LORD He can and will give us the desires of our heart—meaning that He can and will give us those things which we desire. Permit me to ask you a very pointed and serious question—namely whether or not the desires within your heart have indeed and have in fact been sanctified by the Holy Spirit and by the Lord Jesus Christ. Have the desires within your heart been sanctified by the Holy Spirit and are they indeed governed by His mind and His heart? There is something incredibly unique about the words which are found in the Old Testament book of the Psalms for within it we find David emphatically declaring that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He will give us the desires of our heart. There have been countless men and women throughout the years who have indeed thought and believed that if they delight themselves in the LORD that He would give them that which they desire. What’s more is that when you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the use of the word “desire” in the plural sense. The psalmist didn’t merely declare that if we delighted ourselves in the LORD He would give us the desire of our heart but the psalmist actually declared that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He would give us the desires of our heart. OH as I sit here today thinking about the words found in this passage of Scripture I am brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding our delight in the LORD and its intrinsic link to the desires which are present within our heart. What’s more is that when we read the words found within this passage we find on display the contrast and comparison between our delight in the LORD and the desires which are found to be present within our hearts. Please don’t miss and lose sight of that which is found in this passage of Scripture for we must needs recognize and understand the intrinsic link and connection between delight and desire—and not only delight and desire but also delight and desires as they are reflect in the plural sense. I read the words present in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the intrinsic link and connection between delight and desire. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for I am absolutely convinced there is something we must recognize when we think about delight and desire as it pertains to the condition of our hearts. Oh there are some who place the desires within their hearts above the delight within their hearts and souls in the LORD God. If you take the time to read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that those who think and believe that if they delight themselves in the LORD He would give them that which they desire are those who place their own desires at the forefront and center of their lives. It is from this place of putting their own desires at the forefront that they then allow this delight in the LORD to be manifested within themselves. We read the words found in this passage of Scripture and we are indeed brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the contrast between delight in the LORD and the desires within our heart. What’s more is that there is a vast and fundamental difference between the desires we have within our heart which proceed from our own flesh and those desires which are placed within our heart by the LORD. There is a great necessity to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and to recognize that there is a vast difference between having our own earthly, natural and carnal desires within our hearts and souls and having desires which are not only given to us by the living God but are also governed by the living God. I am absolutely convinced that we must not only allow ourselves to have our desires given to us by the LORD but also to allow the LORD to govern those desires. The words and language found in this passage of Scripture calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding those desires which are found within our heart which are rooted and grounded in our own pride, within our own arrogance and within our own selfish and carnal nature. There is something we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for what we find within it calls and invites us into the place where we recognize and understand that there is a vast difference between those desires which we have within our hearts and souls which are a direct result of our sinful and carnal nature and those desires which are given unto us directly from the living God Himself. If we are honest with ourselves and with the Holy Spirit we must needs recognize that we either have desires within our heart which proceed from our natural and carnal nature or we have desires which are found within our heart by the living and eternal God. The psalmist clearly and emphatically wrote that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He would give us the desires of our heart. We must needs recognize and understand this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the distinction between delight and desire—and not only the difference between delight and desire but also the difference between delight and those desires which we have within our hearts. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for within it we are brought face to face with the incredibly wonderful truth surrounding the difference that exists between delighting in the LORD God and the desires which are present within our heart. The more I think about and consider that which David wrote the more I am brought face to face with the truth that there are those who would much rather place a greater emphasis on the desires within and the desires of our heart rather than delighting ourselves in the LORD. There would be those who would choose to highlight, emphasis and underscore the desires within their own heart rather than and above delighting themselves in the LORD. Permit me to ask you a very pointed and personal question and ask what is greater within your life—the desires within your heart or your delight in the LORD God? If you truly take the time to think about this and its implications within your own heart and life what is the greater reality within your heart, within your mind and within your soul—your delight in the LORD or the desires which are found within your heart? What’s more is that I would dare say that if we allow ourselves to be those who are governed by our own desires produced by the sinful and carnal nature then we limit, prohibit and restrict ourselves from being those who are able to receive those desires which are indeed given unto us by the Holy Spirit and by the LORD. The psalmist David emphatically wrote in this passage of Scripture that if we delight ourselves in the LORD he would give us the desires of our heart. This is something we must needs understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for within it we come face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the LORD God and His giving us the desires within our heart—those desires which are holy and sanctified by Him which are permitted to govern how we move and operate in this life. I consider the words which are found in the Old Testament book of the Psalms and I am brought face to face with the truth that is centered upon delight and how more often than not delight is directly juxtaposed and contrasted to those desires which we have within our hearts. There is a vast difference between those desires which are produced within our hearts and souls as a direct result of our own selfish and carnal nature and those desires which are found within our hearts and souls and are given unto us by the Holy Spirit and by the living God. The words present in this passage of Scripture are absolutely and incredibly astounding when you take the time to think about them for they call and draw our attention to the truth surrounding the incredible and tremendous need to delight ourselves in the LORD. This is incredibly important when reading these words for when we read the words found in this passage of Scripture we are brought face to face with the reality of how those who think and believe that if they delight themselves in the LORD He will give them the desires which are already in their hearts and how incredibly misguided this truly is. I am absolutely convinced that those who think and believe that if they delight themselves in the LORD HE will give them the desires of their own heart are those who place an unholy emphasis on their own desires—and not only on their own desires but also their own sinful and carnal nature which cannot be trusted at all. Oh there is something we must recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for within it we encounter the vast contrast and difference which exists between our delight in the LORD and those desires which are present within our hearts. We would like to think and believe that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He will give us those desires which are already present within our hearts. The truth of the matter, however, is that this simply is not the case. The ultimate reality is that the psalmist David didn’t declare that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He would give us those desires which were already present within our hearts and souls. Despite the fact that we would like to think that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He would give us and meet those desires which are present within our hearts. This is something which we must needs recognize when reading the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by John Mark. What we find in this passage are two disciples who came into the presence of Jesus asking them that He would grant unto them that which they desired. These two disciples came into the presence of Jesus asking Him that He would grant unto them whatsoever they desired within their hearts and souls. What makes this so incredibly dangerous is when you think about and consider it in light of the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Psalms—particularly and especially as it pertains to desire and delight. We must needs recognize and understand that within this Old Testament book of Psalms there is a vast contrast which exists between delight and delighting ourselves in the LORD and those desires which are present within our hearts and souls. The words which we see in this passage must needs be understood and recognized for when we think about and consider them we must needs understand that there is an intrinsic link and connection between delighting ourselves in the LORD and the desires which are present within our hearts. Oh we must needs recognize and understand just how incredibly significant this truly is for it has the ability to completely and utterly shape how we think and how we live our lives. I read the words found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that not only does our desire but also our delight needs to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. We must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that there is a great difference which exists between our delight in the LORD and the desires which we have within our heart and soul. I am absolutely convinced we must needs consider this and pay close and careful attention to it for it has the ability to dramatically govern how we live and how we operate within this life. The words which we find in this passage of Scripture demonstrates how easy it is to bring our desires into the presence of the living God and thinking that if we delight ourselves in the LORD He will somehow give us those desires. There is an inherent danger that is found within this particular passage of Scripture for within it we understand and recognize that it is incredibly easy to enter into the presence of the LORD bringing our own desires in tow and thinking that if we do so He can and will somehow give us those desires if we delight in Him. There are actually those who would like to think and believe that if they delight themselves in the LORD HE would give and grant unto them those desires which were present within their heart and soul as they entered into the presence of the living God. There are those who would like to think and believe that they can somehow bring those desires which are present within their hearts and souls into the presence of the LORD and that if they delight themselves in the LORD He will give them those desires. We must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for within it we encounter the tremendous truth surrounding the desires which we allow to be present within our hearts and souls and how those desires can indeed and can in fact take precedent over and above our actual delight in the living God. Oh that we would understand that it is indeed possible to bring our sinful, unholy and non-sanctified desires which are produced within our hearts and souls as a direct result of the flesh and carnal nature and think that the LORD God can and will somehow grant and meet those desires. The truth of the matter is that those who think and believe such a farce are those who would elevate their own desires above their actual delighting themselves in the LORD God. The psalmist David emphatically declared that those who delighted themselves in the LORD would indeed be those who would be given the desires of their heart. Oh that we would recognize and understand just how absolutely incredible this truly is when we take the time to consider it for what we must needs understand is that if we indeed delight ourselves in the LORD He won’t give, meet and fulfill those desires which we have within our hearts as we enter into His presence but that He will give us those desires which are pure, which are holy, which are true, which are noble, and which are righteous. Permit me to take a step back and ask you point blank whether or not those things which you desire within your heart are actually governed by the living God and have actually been given unto you by the LORD as a direct result of delighting yourself in the LORD. OH there is a vast difference between those desires which are given unto us and implanted within our hearts and souls as a direct result of delighting ourselves in the LORD and those desires we bring with us into the presence of the LORD which come from our own sinful flesh. It is with this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle the apostle Paul wrote unto the Philippian saints—and not only the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Philippian saints but also the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written by James unto the twelve tribes of Judah. I cannot help but be absolutely captivated and gripped by the words which are found in these two passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding those things we think upon, those things we desire within our heart and those things which we allow to govern how we live our lives in this life. I am convinced there is a great need for us to recognize the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they help draw our attention to the incredible contrast which exists between delighting ourselves in the LORD and those desires we bring in tow with us when we enter into his presence thinking and believing that He will somehow give us those desires. Having said this I now invite you to consider if you will the following words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Philippian saints as well as the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written by James unto the twelve tribes. What’s more is I would also like to draw and call your attention to the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with t hanksgiving let your requests be made known unto. God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any future, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:4-9). “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye thin that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10). “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life of Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spiritl For they that are after the flesh do. Mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and join heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:1-17). I would also like to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the same New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this particular chapter beginning to read with and from the first verse: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service .And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt toe very man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:1-3). I find it absolutely necessary to return to the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James for within it we find something that not only strikes at the very heart of our desires, but also that which strikes at the very heart of fights and quarrels among us. When you read the words which are found within this passage you will find James asking those to whom the epistle was writing where wars and fightings came from among them? This question would essentially be a rhetorical question for James would go on to declare how the wars and fightings came hence from their own lusts that war within their members. Not only this but James goes on to declare how they lust and had not and how they killed and desired to have and cannot obtain. Moreover James would go on to write how they fight and war and yet they have not because they ask not. When they do ask they ask and receive not because they ask amiss that they may consume it upon their lusts. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading this passage is we are given the answer to what causes fightings and wars among us, however, what we are not given is the answer and explanation for those lusts which are present within our hearts. It was the apostle Paul who emphatically declared that the flesh wars and lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh and we must needs recognize and understand this and how absolutely necessary it is within our hearts and lives. There is a great need for us to read the words found within this passage and not necessary to ask what causes the fights and quarrels among us for James is sure to write and declare unto his readers and audience that which causes fights and quarrels among them. James makes it very clear how that which causes fights and quarrels among them were the lusts which war within their members. As we read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture we must needs recognize and understand that the underlying question is not necessarily what causes fights and quarrels among us but what those lusts are within our hearts. There are those who would like to think that the underlying reality which must be understood within this passage is what causes fights and quarrels among us and yet the truth of the matter is that what causes the fights and quarrels among us is not the main nor is it the underlying focus within the passage. That which we must needs understand within this passage of Scripture is not necessarily what causes fights and quarrels among us but rather what those lusts are which are at the very heart and center of the fights and quarrels. There is a great need for us to recognize and pay close attention to those lusts and desires within our hearts for not only do they produce and cause fights and quarrels among us they also govern our words when we finally do ask. James not only speaks of that which causes fights and quarrels among the saints but he also goes on to write and declare them to be adulterers and adulteresses and how friendship with the world is enmity with God. Not only this but James also goes on to declare that whosoever would be a friend of the world is an enemy of God. What we must needs understand and acknowledge with this particular passage of Scripture is that the lusts and the desires within our hearts can indeed make us enemies with the living God. Pause for a moment and consider the absolutely astounding truth found in this passage of Scripture and how the lusts and desires within our heart can indeed make us enemies of the living God. I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the incredible danger of allowing ourselves to be governed by the lusts and the desires of and within our flesh. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for within it we are brought face to face with how the desires and lusts within our hearts can not only lead to fights and quarrels among us but they can also lead to us becoming enemies of the living God. This particular passage is such which we must needs recognize and pay close attention to for it brings us face to face with the condition of our hearts—and not only the condition of our hearts but also that which can indeed and does indeed cause fights and quarrels among us. Within this passage we are not only brought to the place where we recognize that which causes fights and quarrels among us but we are also brought into the place where we recognize that which can indeed cause us to be enemies of the living God. In all reality there are two dangers found in this passage of Scripture for there is allowing fights and quarrels to be present within and among us and there is also allowing ourselves to be enemies with and of the living God. There are many men and women who don’t realize that the desires and lusts within their hearts not only cause them to be at odds with others as a result of fighting and quarrels but it also causes them to be enemies of the living God. We as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs pay close and careful attention to this for if we aren’t careful we might very well allow ourselves to be engaged in quarrels with others as well as be enemies of the living God. I sit here today thinking about the words found within the fourth chapter of the epistle written by James and I am brought face to face with the truth surrounding his explanation for that which causes fights and quarrels among us. James deliberately and intentionally writes how that which causes fights and quarrels among us come from the lusts which war in our members. If there is one question we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage it’s what those lusts are within our members—and not only what those lusts are within our members but also what those lusts are which war in our members. The quarrels, the wars, the fightings and the like are only the surface issue and the manifestation of the lusts and desires within our heart. What’s more is I would dare say that the lusts and desires within our heart must needs be carefully examined for they can indeed cause us to be engaged in fights, quarrels and wars with those who are a part of the body of Christ. Perhaps the single greatest question we must needs recognize when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is when you consider the fact that we have indeed been called to a life of friendship with the living God just as Abraham himself was considered to be a friend of God. Oh what a stark contrast exists between friendship with the world which is enmity with God and friendship with the living God which causes us to be those whose lives are completely and entirely governed by His heart, His mind, His will, His desires, His plan(s) and His purpose(s). This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the desires and lusts within our hearts and that which is truly of worth and of value within us. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for what we find within it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the lusts and the desires within our hearts—that which may very well cause us to be enemies with God and that which may cause us to be engaged with fights and quarrels together with. Others. One of the single greatest things we can do is recognize and understand the lusts and the desires within our heart—that which James writes about within this epistle. The fights and quarrels among us alert us to the fact that there is something wrong beneath the surface and yet it is the lusts themselves which show us what’s wrong. When we begin noticing ourselves engaged in fights and quarrels with others—regardless of whether or not it is our spouse, or a sibling, or a parent, or a friend, or those in the church and body of Christ or even those in the world it does in fact alert us to the fact that something is seriously and drastically wrong. This is something we must needs recognize and understand as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth and reality surrounding the lusts and the desires within our hearts which are exposed by the fights and quarrels which take place among us. If the words which come out of our mouth can indeed and do in fact alert us to the fact that there might very well be something wrong within our heart(s) then the fights and quarrels among us let us know and alert us to the fact that there might very well be something wrong within our hearts and lives. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth as it brings us face to face with the fact that we are indeed and are in fact alerted by these signals which are present within our hearts and lives. I read the words found within this passage and I can’t help but encounter the tremendous truth that the fights and quarrels which take place among us not only alerts us to the fact there might be something wrong but they also alert us to the fact that we might be at war within ourselves based on the lusts and the desires which are present within us. There is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to when it comes to fights and quarrels which take place among us for more often than not that which places us at odds with others are the lusts and the desires which war within our own members. If there is one thing we must needs understand it’s that the fights and quarrels which we are a part of in this life more often than not alerts us to the lusts and the desires which are present within our hearts. What’s more is that not only do these external fightings and quarrels alert us to the lusts and the desires within ourselves but they also alert us to the fact that there is actually a war that is going on within the members of our own person and body. We would like to think that the fighting and quarrels which take place between ourselves and others is solely because of the other person and yet the truth of the matter is that they exist when the lusts and desires within the members of my body are at odds with the lusts and desires which are present within the members of your body. More often than not the external wars, fightings and quarrels we face within our lives is not only due to the war which is taking place within our members because of the lusts and desires which are present among us but also because of those wars which are taking place within the members of another individual. If you want to truly be aware of the desires which are present within your heart—and not only of the desires which are within your heart but also whether or not they are indeed lusts which might very well place you at enmity with the living and eternal God—there is a need for us to recognize that the fighting and the quarrels we allow ourselves to get involved with are a sure fire sign that there is something wrong. There is a great need for us as the people of God to recognize and understand that the lusts and desires which are present within our hearts and souls can not only cause us to be enemies of the living God but they can also cause us to be at war within ourselves and at war with others. We must needs recognize and understand that the desires within our hearts might very well be nothing more than lusts and that those lusts might very well cause us to not only be enemies of God but also cause us be at war within ourselves. Oh that we would recognize that there might very well be a need for us to have our desires—and not only our desires but that which is perceived as being lusts within our hearts and minds—be entirely purged and sanctified by the living God. There is a great need for us to delight ourselves in the LORD for when we delight ourselves in the LORD He sanctifies, purifies, purges and even removes those lusts and earthly desires and passions which are present within our heart. We as the saints of God must needs delight ourselves in the living God for by doing so we allow the desires which are present within our hearts and souls to be removed by the Holy Spirit and the desires of the Father to be implanted within our hearts and lives in their place. When the psalmist David spoke of delighting ourselves in the LORD and He would give us the desires of our heart he was actually describing how we are those who are indeed and are in fact governed by desires which are not are own for they are not founded upon the world nor those things which are in the world but those things which are present within heaven itself. Oh consider if you will the following words which are found in the thirty-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms beginning to read with and from the first verse: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD, and he shall give the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret. Not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall. Not be; Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man hath is better that the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as of the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: But the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever medrciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell forevermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints. They are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wickes shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on t he LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut , thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and lose, he was not: Yeah, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: For the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed shall be destroyed together : the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him” (Psalms 37:1-40). As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found toward the beginning of this passage of Scripture. Beginning with the third verse you will find David instructing and inviting those who read these words to trust in the LORD and do good—something we must needs recognize and understand for at the very heart of that which we find in the rest of this passage is a full and complete trust in the LORD. Despite the words which are found in the very next section are at the very heart of everything I have written thus far I am convinced the only way for them to be truly performed and completed within our hearts and lives is when they are based on a foundation of trust. We must needs recognize and understand that we are indeed to trust in the LORD and do good and that from that place of trust we are able to delight ourselves in the LORD. It is from that place of trusting in the LORD and doing good that we are able to delight ourselves in Him and it is from that place of trusting in Him that He shall give us the desires of our heart. What’s more is that the psalmist didn’t merely stop there for He would also instruct those who read these words to commit their way unto the LORD and to trust also in Him and He would bring it to pass—and not only bring their way to pass but He will also bring forth their righteousness as the light and their judgment as the new day. As if this weren’t enough the psalmist David would also invite his readers to rest in the LORD and wait patiently for him while not fretting themselves because of he who prospers in his way because of the man wo brings wicked devices to pass. There is a tremendous need for us to recognize and understand the words which are found within this passage of Scripture for what we find within it is an incredibly powerful picture of how our delight ourselves in the LORD can and does in fact open us up for the LORD to not grant and meet the desires within our heart which we bring to Him but rather the LORD actually implanting His desires within our heart. This is something worth recognizing and understanding for intrinsically linked and connected to this is the clarion call to trust in the LORD, to do good, to commit our way unto the LORD and to trust fully and completely in Him. The words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James speaks of that which causes fights and quarrels among us and goes on to emphatically state that at the very center and core of those fights and quarrels is our own lusts. I am absolutely convinced that the question we need to be asking is not what causes fights and quarrels among us but rather what those lusts are within our own selves—those lusts and those desires which war within our members. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that any fighting and warring we engage ourselves in with others is a direct outflow of the warring and fighting which is present within our own members as our lusts, our passions and our desires are in direct opposition and conflict with the Spirit. I am not fully sure I would call the desire of James and John evil, however, and Jesus didn’t seem to rebuke them for asking such a thing. With that being said, however, I find it absolutely necessary to remind you that when the other ten disciples heard it they were sorely displeased and perhaps murmured among themselves. The desire and request of the sons of Zebedee could have created infighting between and among the disciples of the Lord Jesus, however, Jesus would quickly deflate and diffuse the situation in a way that only He could. We must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the need for us to pay close attention to the quarrels and fights which we allow ourselves to get into with others for it is a clear warning sign that there is something much deeper and much larger going on. Just as the words which come forth from our lips is a clear and present barometer and gauge of the condition of our heart so also are the fights and quarrels which are fought and engaged in among us. Oh there is a great need for us to pay close and careful attention to such conflicts for they are a powerful invitation to examine the lusts, the passions and the desires within our hearts—and not only the lusts, the passions and desires within our hearts but also the conflict and infighting within our own members and the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit. What’s more is that we must needs bring our desires and our passions before the throne of grace and ask the Holy Spirit to sanctify, purge, purify, refine and make holy the desires within our hearts and souls. Oh that we would be a people of sanctified and holy desires that we might be such who would emphatically declare how one thing have we desired of the LORD and that will we seek after that we may dwell in the house of the LORD and abide in His tabernacle. Oh that we would be a people who would be able to say emphatically and without reservation that better is a day in the courts of the LORD than a thousand elsewhere.

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