God Can Use Our Spirit-Controlled Desires to Direct Us

“It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13 NIV).

When we want God’s direction for our lives, we should get our desires out of the way so that we can honestly say, “God, I’m willing to go either way — whatever you want is what I want.”

Then we say, “God, help me to know what you want by giving me a desire one way or the other.” Some people don’t want to do that, because they think if they desire something, then God must be against it. That’s not true. God can use our Spirit-controlled desires to direct us. Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV). If you’re really trying to do what’s right in God’s eyes, then your desires are going to be in line.

How do you know when you have the right desires? “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously . . . and it will be given to you” (James 1:5 NIV). You say, “Lord, give me the right kind of desire to do the right thing.”

When you’re facing a difficult decision, first, you confess your sins and get right with God. Then you commit the decision to the Lord and keep praying until you “get in neutral” about it. The third step is to ask God to reveal his will by giving you a desire: “Lord, give me the desire to do the right thing.” Remember: “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13 NIV).

How do you know if the desire is from God? One good test is time. You can tell if a desire is from God by sitting on it for a while and praying, “God, if this desire is from you, make it stronger. If this desire is not from you, please take it away.” It’s a legitimate request — just ask God to do that for you!

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Talk It Over

  • What are some desires you have that you believe are from God? What makes you think that is true?
  • What does it mean to “get in neutral” about a decision you have to make?
  • When you’ve had to make a decision, have you ever given it time to see if the desire got stronger or went away? What happened?
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