Published August 27th, 2015 by Dirk Waren
How do you build and maintain constant momentum in your walk with the Lord? Answer: By discerning, pursuing and obtaining your desires. I’m not talking about sinful desires, of course, but rather God-given desires. You see, God motivates you by dropping desires in your spirit as you seek Him; and these desires correspond to the works or goals He wants you to fulfill.
People have inquired about my productivity and how I do it. This article shows you how and it’s based on a simple three-point plan that’s thoroughly biblical. I first learned it through a minister in the mid-80s (Joe Cameneti, who I’m sure learned it from someone else and so on) and have been exceedingly grateful ever since because I use it for everything I accomplish. This plan will empower you to be productive in your service for the Lord and obtain your God-given desires.
Focusing on fulfilling the dreams or works that the LORD puts in your heart is exciting and creates dynamic propulsion. As you follow the wisdom principles of God’s Word you’ll become unstoppable in your service for the Lord; and success begats success. It’s truly living the “good life” and I don’t mean that in a worldly sense.
“The Desire of the Righteous is Only Good”
First we need to establish the difference between righteous desires and unrighteous desires. Notice what the book of wisdom says on this:
The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
Proverbs 11:23 (NASB/KJV)
We’ll focus on the first part of the passage since the second part deals with the wicked; unless you’re wicked, it doesn’t apply to you. The first part plainly says that “the desire of the righteous is only good.” If the desire of the righteous is good then the reverse is also true: the desire of the unrighteous is not good, which would include desires relating to sins like arrogance, adultery, greed or murder. Galatians 5:19-21 provides a good list. How do we learn to distinguish between righteous and unrighteous desires? The Bible shows us how (Hebrews 5:14), which is one of the many reasons it’s important to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word (Colossians 1:10 & 2 Peter 3:18).
So “the desire of the righteous is only good.” ‘Desire’ here is the Hebrew word ta’avah (tah-âv-AW), which means “that which you earnestly long for.” It’s a desire that stays with you and you can’t get rid of it. We’re talking about a righteous desire, not a wicked one. The Bible says that such a desire is good! Religion has told us for centuries that all desire is bad. No, only evil, sinful desires are bad. Christianity is not the death of desire—it’s the death of selfish and ungodly desire.
Christians tend to think if they’re not called to pastor they’re of no value to God. This is a lie straight from the enemy. God is very interested in your life. In fact, you’re His child through spiritual rebirth (1 John 5:1 & 3:9). Any normal, healthy parent is intensely interested in the life of his/her son or daughter; how much more so your heavenly Father? You must get a hold of the fact that God has strategic purposes for every believer, including YOU. How does He reveal these purposes? As you make Him first priority He puts burning desires in your heart—ta’avahs—to motivate you to go in the direction He wants you to go.
You Were Recreated in Christ to Fulfill the Objectives God Gives You
Notice what this passage says and let it permeate your being:
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
Ephesians 2:10 (Amplified)
Every believer is God’s “workmanship” “recreated in Christ” to do the good works He planned ahead of time. “Recreated in Christ” is a reference to spiritual regeneration, which takes place when a lost person turns to God in repentance and faith (John 3:3,6 & Acts 20:21). Once you’re “recreated in Christ” God has paths for you to walk down: “Taking paths which He prepared ahead of time.” A good example of this is Paul. God had plans for him to be an apostle even from his mother’s womb! (Galatians 1:15).
The Amplified Bible is a paraphrase that amplifies the original Hebrew & Greek. Notice it describes fulfilling the good works the LORD wants us to fulfill in terms of “living the good life.” You see, God’s will is the best possible path for you to walk. Being in God’s will is exciting because your Creator knows how you’re wired—what you can handle and what you can’t handle, what excites you and what bores you. Christianity is not dullsville. Religion—including “Christian” religion—might be dullsville but true Christianity isn’t. Take believers who are genuinely called to missionary work in developing areas or pastors who pioneer churches. These men and women are dynamic individuals who are excited about their work, despite the hardships and challenges. They’re living the “good life.”
Some Christians are afraid of God’s will because they think it’s all doom and gloom. While it’s true that the Christian path is filled with trials, temptations and persecutions, God’s plan for your life isn’t just okay or mediocre, it’s good—it’s “the good life”!
The LORD crowns the year with goodness, and God’s paths drip with abundance.
Psalm 65:11 (NKJV)
The LORD crowns the year with goodness and His “paths drip with abundance.” If God takes you there He’ll provide for you there, as long as you endure in faith and don’t give up. Jesus said He came that we may have “life to the full,” (John 10:10), not mediocre life!
Again, this does not mean there won’t be challenges and hardships. Life’s a fight, fight it! You will never outgrow spiritual warfare; you must simply learn to fight.
The Three-Point Plan
Now we’re ready to go over the three-point plan of action. This plan will literally empower you to continually produce during your spiritual sojourn on earth. I’m not talking about a lame formula, but rather ageless principles of wisdom based on the Word of God and the corresponding leading (or inspiration) of the Holy Spirit minute by minute and day to day.
This three-point plan is simple and I use it for everything I accomplish in service of the LORD. It works because it’s thoroughly biblical and based on the wisdom of God. Let’s look at each of the three parts with the understanding that the plan only works for believers who are walking with the Lord and keeping in repentance à la Matthew 3:8 and 1 John 1:8-9. Believers who stubbornly refuse to ’fess up when applicable automatically block the flow of God’s grace in their lives (James 4:6). It’s a simple matter of honesty and humility with your Creator.
1. Acknowledge God and He Will Direct Your Paths
The cornerstone passage for this first part of the plan is this:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
Acknowledge God in your life and He will direct your paths. He’ll show you where He wants you to go as you seek Him. Simply ask the LORD in prayer to instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. The Bible says that God hears us when we ask according to His will (1 John 5:14) so you can base your request on passages like Proverbs 3:5-6 and this one:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
(9) Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no
understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”
Praying for God’s will to be done in your life is in accordance with Jesus’ instructions and example (Matthew 6:9-10; 26:39). Keep in mind, however, that the Bible doesn’t teach us to seek God only, but rather seek Him first (Matthew 6:33). In short, we’re to make God first priority—i.e. sell out to God—but don’t get out of balance by seeking God only. That’s a ticket to looney religiosity and burnout. Are you with me?
When you acknowledge the LORD in prayer get specific about the area of your life with which you’re acknowledging Him. There are different areas to our lives—family, marital, work, devotional, ministerial, educational, recreational, fitness, social, homestead, dating, and so on. What area are you seeking the Creator for guidance?
How exactly does God “direct your path” when you acknowledge Him? By dropping desires in your heart to motivate you. You can’t obtain your desires until you know what they are; so get close to the LORD, look deep within, and draw them out. This is in line with godly wisdom as shown in Proverbs 20:5: “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”
You’ll have thoughts, ideas or desires concerning a certain area of your life. For instance, you may want to build/buy a house in the country or there may be a certain special person you’re thinking about marrying or perhaps you feel called to full-time ministry. Whatever the case, share it with the LORD in prayer, as this verse shows:
Roll your works upon the LORD [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.
Proverbs 16:3 (Amplified)
When you acknowledge the LORD in prayer He will cause your thoughts to become “agreeable with His will.” Please understand that God is your Creator and therefore knows precisely how you tick. As such, He’ll guide you according to what you’re wired to handle by dropping in your spirit the corresponding desire.
Once you have an earnest desire, keep praying about it to ensure that it’s of God (particularly if it’s major). If it’s of God it will grow stronger. If not, it’ll grow weaker and die out.
Let me give an example from my own life: In my 20s I constantly wrote songs and recorded them on a four-track recorder. I was also a young Christian and was seeking the LORD with all my heart—studying the Word, praying, attending church services, etc. My main drive beyond God was music. It was my predominant occupational/artistic desire. So I started a band with my best friend, who was a drummer, and we started playing out. We were an overtly Christian band, of course, but after a few years it got old and progress wasn’t happening. Beyond that, I was also getting married and seeking the LORD as fervently as ever. Lo and behold my desire to be in a band and compose/play music subsided. Deep inside I knew I needed to break off from the band and, at least, take a break. So that’s what I did and, in the ensuing years, God led me to pursue serious ministry (Bible school, regular pulpit sermons, etc.).
You see, I was seeking the LORD—acknowledging Him in my life—and He led me to play in a band for a season, but as I continued seeking Him He moved me to leave that work at the appropriate time. So keep in mind that some things the LORD leads you to do will be seasonal. Jonah’s ministry in Nineveh, for example, was seasonal, not forever. It’s the same with Paul’s work in Corinth. Just because God leads you to do something it doesn’t mean it’s forever (unless, of course, we’re talking about marriage, which is a covenant till death*).
* That is, unless it’s impossible to stay married due to unrepentant unfaithfulness or abuse (Matthew 5:32 & 19:9).
Consider this potent passage:
Now to Him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,
Beloved Christian, you must understand that God will not get involved in your life unless YOU allow Him. He wants to take you places. He’s able to do immeasurably more than what you ask or imagine, but are YOU even asking or imagining? How can the LORD do “immeasurably more” if we’re not even willing to ask or imagine? The last time I checked God rewards those who earnestly and diligently seek Him, not those who are lazy and apathetic.
This first part of the three-point plan is absolutely essential because it facilitates a purpose-driven life in any stage or level you’re at on your spiritual journey. This is imperative to happiness and a sense of meaning (remember Solomon’s depressed commentaries on the meaninglessness of life in Ecclesiastes?). Think about it: If you don’t know where you’re going you might not like where you end up. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you ever know when you get there?
2. Plan Your Way to Meet Your God-Given Objective
Once you have a strong desire—a ta’avah—and you know it’s God’s will, what do you do?
The mind of a person plans their way, but the LORD directs their steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)
God has given you a course—an objective—now you need to plan your way in order for the LORD to direct your steps. ‘Plan’ means “To design or think over.” God gave you a mind for a reason—use it. I too often see a negative attitude toward the mind in Christian circles (and, by “the mind,” I mean the mental realm in general). However, your mind is an awesome gift from your Creator and should be utilized for good. For instance, this proverb shows that you should use your mind to plan your way.
Let’s say you’re seeking the LORD and you discern a strong, persistent desire to be a nurse. This is your God-given course. Now plan your way to meet that objective. You can start planning simply by asking the most obvious questions: What nursing schools are available for you to attend? How are you going to apprehend funds? Where are you going to live? Will you work part-time?
When you do this you’re planning your way to fulfill your God-given course or objective utilizing the resources at your disposal. The plan you come up with is your path or way.
Remember: No one plans to fail, but failures fail to plan.
3. Start Moving toward Your Goal Led of the Holy Spirit
Once you have a general plan then simply start moving. In short, it’s time for action! Get up off your rump and move toward your God-given goal according to the plan you devised. As you do this the LORD will “direct your steps” by the Holy Spirit (Proverbs 16:9).
It’s important to discern the difference between course, path and steps:
- Your course is your objective, goal, assignment or mission, which is based on the longstanding desire—the ta’avah—the LORD gave you as you sought Him.
- Your path is the way you planned with your mind to fulfill your course or obtain your goal.
- Your steps are you walking down that path day by day utilizing God’s direction via the Holy Spirit.
Once you have a goal it’s of the utmost importance that you take action and start walking toward it according to your general plan because this will produce momentum. As you do this, your goal will increasingly become an obsession, which is good as long as you maintain balance by not neglecting other important areas of your life, like God, sleep, health, recreation* and quality relationships. Your God-given goal must become your main focus in the area of life for which it’s relevant and, as such, you must eliminate all unnecessary distractions to obtain it, like certain friends who have a penchant for overlong gabbing on the phone, etc.
* Yes, some measure of recreation is essential: “There’s a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
If you don’t start walking there are no steps for the Holy Spirit to guide. Think about it in terms of a guided missile: The missile cannot be guided until it’s shot off. So blast off!
How exactly are you “led of the Holy Spirit” as you’re walking the path to your objective according to your plan?
- Be alert for “golden opportunities,” which are open doors of opportunity that manifest, such as Paul’s “open door,” as shown in 2 Corinthians 2:12
- Be alert for “golden connections,” which are people who can link you to your goal one way or another.
- “Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart” (Colossians 3:15) concerning every potential opportunity or connection since not every opportunity or person is from the LORD. For instance, Potiphar’s wife was a connection for Joseph, but it was an ungodly connection that would’ve hindered him from reaching the palace (Genesis 39:6-7).
Also be conscious of proper timing: The time for research is not the time for production or marketing. For instance, Moses had a strong desire—a ta’avah—from God to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, but he acted prematurely, which caused him to be exiled to the desert for forty years (Exodus 2-3). Another good example is Joseph, who prematurely shared his vision with his jealous brothers and was subsequently sold into slavery (Genesis 37:2-28).
Say, for instance, you discern a ta’avah to be a full-time minister. This is great, but it’s going to take years of preparation and devotion—seeking the LORD, study, consecration, mentoring, sermonizing and testing. People who jump the gun due to zeal, immaturity or impatience are bound for frustration and failure.
Throw Off Every Weight and Sin that HINDERS your Purpose
If you truly want to fulfill your God-given goal—whatever that might be—you must be willing to throw off “weights” that will burden you and sins that imprison. Notice what the Bible says on this:
…let us throw off every thing that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
The “thing that hinders” is a “weight” that holds you down and prevents you from fulfilling your God-given objective. The thing itself is neutral and not a sin, but it saps your time and energy so much that it hinders you from completing your assignment. It could be any number of things depending on the individual—computer games, movies, golf, boating/fishing, a person, etc. These things are not necessarily evil in and of themselves, but because they distract you from your calling they are not good for you. You must either carefully guard the time you spend with such things or, if necessary, remove them from your life altogether in order to fulfill your mission.
As for the “sin that so easily entangles,” this is any flesh proclivity that you’ve developed a taste for and it therefore seriously tempts you from time to time. You must make it a top priority to remove this sin from your life, whatever the cost. If you don’t, it will prevent you from obtaining your God-given desire. See this teaching (or this video) for three biblically-based keys to walking free of any sin.
The Three-Point Plan in Summary
- Seek God first (not only) by acknowledging Him in prayer. As you do this, the Spirit will make your thoughts/desires become agreeable with His will. Longstanding desires are ta’avahs—earnest (righteous) desires that stay with you. The ta’avah is your COURSE (or work, assignment, objective, mission). It’s God’s will for your current (or ensuing) season in life.
- God gave you a mind so use it. Plan your way to fulfill your God-given COURSE utilizing the resources at your disposal. This plan is your WAY (or PATH). At this point you have a COURSE and a general WAY to get there.
- Now it’s time for action. You will never fulfill your COURSE by inaction. Move toward your God-given objective based upon the plan you came up with relying on the hour-to-hour help/guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is what Proverbs means by STEPS—it’s the Lord directing your STEPS along the WAY that you planned in order to fulfill your COURSE. “Let the peace of Christ reign in your heart.” If you don’t have a peace about something or someone be sure to bypass it/them. Be conscious of “golden connections” and “golden opportunities.” It’s important to start moving once you have a COURSE and WAY because if you’re not walking the Lord won’t be able to direct your STEPS.
Don’t Misinterpret “the Good Life”
Someone misinterpreted elements of this teaching in the corresponding Fountain of Life video and wrote me a long letter to rebuke me. He (or she) mistook my references to “the good life.” I think he took it to mean living like Hugh Hefner, I don’t know. However, the video itself and this article defines the “good life” as being hooked up with God’s will and fulfilling the courses or objectives He gives you, whatever they may be. It could be moving to a third-world country and being a missionary. God’s COURSES are exciting and good because they’re in line with your Creator’s will who knows you inside out and therefore how you’re “wired.” Yes, there will be hardships and persecutions, but He knows what you can handle and can’t handle and will provide the grace to get through.
Secondly, the very beginning of both the video and this chapter establishes in the plainest terms possible that I’m talking about fulfilling righteous desires, not unrighteous desires, such as greed, hedonism and pomposity.
An Example from My Own Life
Let me share the three-point plan applied to my own life with a recent example: My 2015 book Sheol Know took a lot of work and discipline, particularly since it was long and detail-oriented (339 pages). To most anyone else, writing a book like this would be a mundane, arduous and tedious venture, but because writing it was based on the ta’avah the LORD gave me I was literally thrilled every day creating it, which isn’t to say there weren’t challenges, naysayers, etc.
You have to learn to persevere through difficulties, setbacks, ignorant criticisms, etc. in order to fulfill any significant objective God gives you, like I did with writing Sheol Know. As noted above, you must weed out time-wasters from your life in order to complete your course. This is vital because anything that needlessly takes your attention away from fulfilling your God-given mission isn’t good and can prevent you from fulfilling your objective altogether, if you allow it. Also, as noted above, be on guard against any sin that can tempt you and potentially derail you, if you allow it. Learn to “keep with repentance” when you miss it by honestly and quickly confessing (Matthew 3:8 & Proverbs 28:13). This will keep your spiritual arteries clear of the clogging up of unconfessed sin; it will keep God’s grace flowing in your life (1 Peter 5:5).
The information in this teaching is absolutely essential to anyone who wants to have a productive, meaningful life. Those who haphazardly sail thru life like a ship without a rudder will end up on the beach of despair.
Helen Keller put it best when she responded to what could be worse than blindness: “To have sight, but no vision.”
To see a video of this teaching go here.
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This article was taken from Dirk’s book The Four Stages of Spiritual Growth. You can obtain a low-priced copy here (260 pages); or get the eBook version here for only $2.99. Both links allow you to “Look inside” the book.
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