by winston davenport, january 23 2014
I've been meditating on King David's words in Psalm 73:75. "There's nothing on Earth that I desire besides you."
That is a very devoted statement. Can we claim the same thing? Can we say with David that God is our only desire? Does this mean that we're supposed to stop desiring good friendships, a productive work environment, enjoyable vacations, or even a powerful ministry?
That seems extreme.
After all, I believe that God wants us to experience desire. He promises to give us the desires of our hearts (see Psalm 37:4), and that Scripture was also penned by David.
As I released my preconceived notions of this verse, opening my mind to the Holy Spirit's interpretation, here's what he told me:
"Winston, when you're in love with me as David was, any desire you have is automatically godly. To desire things like a healthy marriage, a nice vehicle, a successful ministry, or other earthly blessings, is to desire the Father."
These were fascinating words, and as I pondered them, it became clearer and clearer what God was revealing. Even the earthly things I desire are not separate from, apart from, or "besides" God. Of course I desire to prosper financially so I can provide for myself and my family, as well as give generously to others. But the revolutionary concept of David's devoted lyricism is this: I desire abundance because I desire God, for God is abundance!
You cannot truly know God without knowing abundance---He is Jehovah Jireh, the Provider. He is El Shaddai, God of more-than-enough. If you know God then you know His Word. And if you know and adhere to His Word, you will automatically make your way prosperous (see Joshua 1:8).
If you love God, your soul will prosper. And if your soul prospers, so will your health and finances (see 3 John 2). I have a desire to drive a Cadillac STS. At first, that may seem like I desire something on Earth besides God. But for the Christian, there is no separation between sacred and secular. My delight in my ideal vehicle stems from my delight in my Father, and His delight in me!
God does not and never has needed my worship, nor does He have any need to be served by huan hands, as though He doesn't already have everything (see Acts 17:25). On the contrary, His glory is displayed in my life when I have a need or desire, and look to my Father for its fulfillment. This, I believe, is why Jesus placed such an emphasis on asking and receiving from God---He mentions it over a dozen times in the Gospels.
In John 14:13, Jesus ascribes the purpose behind asking and receiving to the end of glorifying God: "Ask and you will receive, so that the Father may be glorified." Then, two chapters later, Jesus again exhorts us to ask and receive, but this time He says that its purpose is "so that your joy may be full" (John 16:24). This is a clear illustration that our joy being full brings glory to God!
The very basis and perfection of God's glorification in my life is when I allow Him to provide for me, give to me, and help me. He wants to be needed by His children. This characteristic can be clearly seen in earthly fathers who have an innate desire to fulfill their children, to give them a headstart.
To not ask God for things that we need or want is to deprive Him of His greatest glory. Jesus recognized that as God's children are glorified, so does He receive greater glory (see John 17:1). Denying this principle is to suggest self-sufficiency---to doubt His willingness and ability to provide. It is pride in a most subtle and dangerous form.
This pride was the sin of the older son in Jesus's Luke 15 parable of the prodigal. The father found such joy in giving and providing that not only did he grant the younger son's premature request for his inheritance, but he also gave a rightful portion of the inheritance to his older son. Then, in spite of the younger son's lasciviousness, the father joyfully celebrated the boy's homecoming by giving him even more wealth! Undoubtedly, this father was driven to give!
This allegoric father---a picture of God---is perfect and loving. And this love is defined by his joy in giving to his children, regardless of whether or not they deserve it. Furthermore, he attributed the older son's bitterness to his unwillingness to ask for what was rightfully his (see Luke 15:31).
Yesterday, after lunch, I lay down on my bed and was greeted by a supernatural sense of God's presence and peace. He spoke these words to my mind: "Just allow Me to serve you today."
To some, that might sound like heresy, but Jesus's attitude was always one of servitude. He said, "The Son of Man didn't come to be served, but to serve." And He promised that one of the things He'd do at His return was recline us at His table and wait on us (see Matthew 20:28; Luke 12:37).
The Father's words to me yesterday reminded me of a hostess's pleasure in providing her guests with an evening of enjoyment, at no expense to them. It brings tribute to the hostess to receive gratitude for her hard work and effort ("The table looks wonderful! The food smells delicious!").
Or what if a loving husband wants to treat his wife to a day of relaxation and shameless pampering, attempting to serve her, relieving her of obligations and duties? But she won't cooperate. She is constantly jumping up, insisting on helping, worrying about this and that. it would be true humility for her to simply stop striving and receive her husband's goodness to her, even though it might make her feel vulnerable or not in control.
In the same way, it would be frustrating for the husband to ask, "Where do you want me to take you for a nice dinner?" and have her respond, "Oh, it doesn't matter---I'll go wherever you want." Her response deprives him of the joy of fulfilling her request and meeting her desires Likewise, it would be insulting for her to say, "Oh, Wendy's or Taco Bell would be fine." This pseudo-selflessness is an affront to the husband's generosity and emotional need to provide an delight his wife. His glory, his joy as a godly husband, is to take her out to the best place in town!
If it is known that I am wealthy, and yet people see my children wearing tattered clothing from a thrift store, or driving a rusted out 1985 Corolla, it brings me no glory as a father, even if---and listen to this!---the reason is that I reserved the money to give to poor people. It is understood that my primary responsibility and desire is to see that my own children are abundantly provided for.
Perhaps this is a difficult concept for some people to grasp. It can be challenging to see God in this light, to make yourself vulnerable to Him to this extent. But instead of viewing your desire for God as something separate from your other godly desires, recognize that in the light of a heart that's truly after God, like King David's, God's glory, love, and selfless generosity can oftentimes be expressed the clearest through His willingness and paternal need to satisfy your desires. After all, "The Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you" (Isaiah 30:18a, AMP).
by winston davenport, January 23 2014