It’s easy to think God desires what we desire: a life filled with love and happiness and good health and possessions. Of course, not too many possessions, just the ones we earnestly pray for: a lovely house, a reliable car, enough money to go on vacation. If He happens to throw in the HGTV dream home, so be it; we’ll share it with family and friends.
But are those the things God desires for us or does the Bible offer a different set of priorities? Let me tell you something: God does indeed desire that you live a life filled with love and happiness and good health, but it’s not the kind of love or pleasure or health the world esteems.
The possessions God desires for us are spiritual, not temporal. Jesus assures us that our heavenly Father is actively fulfilling our physical needs, and we’re not to concern ourselves with those things (Matt. 6:25–33). God’s hope for you is not rooted in this world but in the active participation of His kingdom.
Therefore, the life God desires for you centers on Him, not you. God’s primary concern is not your comfort—God’s primary concern is your commitment. He knows we will quickly fall into temptation unless we cling to Christ and that we will struggle with fear unless we fasten ourselves to His Word. We will not have what it takes to live godly lives in this ungodly world unless we live strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
Steadfast in the Word of God
We cannot live the life God desires for us apart from filling our minds and hearts with Scripture. The bottom line is this: if we don’t know Scripture, then we don’t know God. To seek God somewhere other than in the Bible is to seek a god of our own making; but to seek the Lord through His Word is to find the true God.
It’s God’s desire that His Word dwells richly in all of His children (Col. 3:16). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Psalm 119:9). We cling to God by adhering to the Scriptures. We fight the lure of the enemy by rooting ourselves in the perfect and eternal, steadfast words of our Savior.
I find strength in times of need when I cling to God’s Word like a frightened child clings to his parent. I find peace for today when I refuse to let go of God’s promises, whether life is calm or crazy. And I acquire direction when I faithfully look to the Lord for help. A refusal to let go of God (and His Word) is what God desired for Israel, and it’s what God wants for us.
For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen. (Jer. 13:11)
The word cling is a strong verb in the Hebrew. It means to adhere to like glue. There is no separation. The bond is so tight it will rip if it separates. God desires intimacy with us. God’s hope is that we will cling to Him no matter our circumstances, but there’s only one way to do that: by adhering to the Word of God like glue. Then and only then will you live the life God desires for you.
Eager to Pursue Godliness
God didn’t save us so we could do whatever we want and still go to heaven. He saved us so we could once again live our lives devoted to Him. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11–12).
It’s God’s desire that we live according to the righteousness He’s bestowed on us through faith in Jesus Christ. In Him, we are made new, “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24) through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Once we were slaves to sin, but now we are not. There was a time we could not help but give in to our sinful passions, but now we have the power to overcome them.
So do it, says the Lord. Live like you’re a child of God and seek to imitate your Father (Eph. 5:1). “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Tim. 6:11–12). In other words, pursue God, who is all those attributes and more.
Do not set your hopes “on the uncertainty of riches, but on God” (1 Tim. 6:17). Secure your mind on Christ. Participate in the expansion of His kingdom and seek the things that are above. Don’t be consumed with earthly possessions, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. When you do, you will live the life God desires for you.
Filled with the Holy Spirit
God’s daily goal for us is to walk in the Spirit; that’s the only way we will not gratify the desires of our flesh, which is continually waging war on our souls. The Christian life is not easy. It’s hard work to take every thought captive for Christ and not lose hope and trust Him no matter what.
We can’t do it alone; we need the Lord in everything. Our understanding is insufficient to make any decision apart from Him. Therefore, complete dependence is God’s desire for His children. We raise our kids to be self-sufficient—to do things without us. But spiritually, that’s the opposite of what God wants for us.
Yes, God wants us to experience love—His love, so we can love others the way He loves us.
Yes, God wants our lives filled with good things, but there is no greater possession than the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, God desires our happiness, but it’s not found in worldly possessions; it’s found in Him.
The life God desires for us is a life lived in and through the power of the Holy Spirit, so God’s grace can carry us, God’s love can cascade through us, God’s desires can overtake us, and His presence can surround us. Then, and only then, will we live the life God desires for us—a life overflowing with Him.