Monday, March 10, 2014

The Danger of Getting What We Think We Want

By Kim. M.

DISCLAIMER: I want you all to know why my journal thoughts are on the page for you to read. It is not because I am a great writer or a great teacher. It is not because I have it all together. On the contrary, it is because I have so much to learn that I write down the things the Lord is teaching me on this journey. The Women’s Ministry Board has asked some of us to share what we are learning, so that we might encourage one another and spur one another on to love and good deeds. So here it is; my heart on paper. May we journey together. Love you all my BCLR sisters.

Psalm 106:15 has been on my mind a couple of different times this week and I have been pondering the danger of getting what we want at the expense of leanness of soul. When Nancy Leigh DeMoss mentioned this same verse in her daily devotional this morning, I decided it was time to do some exploring. (I never cease to be amazed that when God is teaching me something, how often a verse comes across my path – in conversation with someone, in a sermon, or in my reading!) If you want to join me in the discovery, you can read on in my journaling journey.

I began by reading Psalm 106:13-15 in the NKJV and in NASB:

They (the Israelites) soon forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
But craved intensely in the wilderness,
And tested God in the desert.
And He gave them their request,
But sent leanness into their soul.

What a warning - words that capture my attention. Yellow caution lights flashing! Red flags waving! DANGER AHEAD. Stop. Turn around.

First Corinthians 10, verses 6 and 11 teach that these things happened as examples for us; that they were written for our instruction; for keep us from craving the evil things, as they also craved; to warn of idolatry and grumbling.

How did the Israelites go from slavery to freedom, from miraculously crossing the Red Sea on dry land to grumbling in the journey so quickly? Four things I notice in this downward spiral:

  • They forgot - forgot God and all His mighty works
  • They forged ahead - forged ahead without waiting for God’s counsel
  • They fixed their focus on their cravings… intense cravings.
  • They foolishly requested their own desires, to their own detriment.

The result? God gave them their request, but sent leanness to their soul.

These words cause me to examine my own heart. Am I ever like the Israelites? Sadly, I think so. When I forget what great things God has done for me and the love He has lavished on me, I am acting like the Israelites. Or when I find myself thinking, “What are you gonna do for me today, God?” I am acting like the Israelites. Oh, I may not say these words out loud, but in my heart, life can easily become all about me.

When I forge ahead with my own plans without waiting for His counsel, and I refuse to wait for God’s timing, I run the risk of wandering in a desert place of my own making. When I am not content with my circumstances or with God’s plan or with His timing, I am in a dangerous place.

When I fix my focus on my cravings – what I want, when I want it, and how I want it – I become the center of my own world. I worship me. My prayers morph into self-centered essays… God hear me and give me what I want now. Oh, Lord God, keep me from my own foolishness and selfishness!

Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes on leanness of the soul in her Quiet Place Daily Devotional Readings:

How dangerous it is to insist that God give us our own will… contentment is a choice. True joy is not the result of having everything I want, but of gratefully receiving exactly what God has given me. The enemy has robbed many of us of our joy by getting us to live in that foolish realm of ‘if only’… The fact is, if we are not content with what we have, we will never be content with what we think we want.


Lord, teach me to be content and grateful, to remember all Your kindnesses toward me, to let Your Word be my counselor. May I never demand my own way but rather delight in Your way. Keep me from leanness of soul. Grant that I may be like the tree in Psalm 1 - firmly planted, flourishing, and fruitful – for Your glory. Protect me from the danger of getting what I think I want.