For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13 NLT)
None of the things that control our actions is as powerful as our will with its desires. Besides, contrary to a common Christian misconception, desires are not evil in themselves. Instead, godly desires play a crucial role in our relationship with God and the fulfillment of His purposes.
God gives us the desires and the power to do what pleases Him. Many of us are familiar with the truth that God provides us with the ability to do what He wants. However, Paul extends this truth and reveals a precious secret of Christianity: God makes our hearts willing or gives us the desire to do His will. This is one of the precious truths the Lord has shown me about the secrets of the Christian life.
Our will is essential to God because we are God’s most significant problem—not Satan, not sin. When we want what God does not want, we would have to surrender our will to His will, a process that is the most challenging thing any human being can ever do. Our human will and desires exert robust control over our actions and even the state of our hearts. A person who does what they do not want will be as miserable as a person who marries someone they do not genuinely love. And just as we cannot force love, we cannot force desire.
Have many of you remember moments when you genuinely did not desire what God wanted? What do you do when you find your heart wanting what God has forbidden? Think of the moments when our hearts do not desire to pray or read the Bible when we know God wants us to do these things. Or imagine those painful times we do not want to forgive though we know God wants us to do so. Every pastor’s nightmare is true believers with no desire for the things of God!
The Spirit who gives us the power to live and serve Him also makes us willing to do His will. May the Lord open your understanding to grasp this truth. Christianity is rightly not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of the Lord. God wants us to obey His Word—for our own good. He could use force and fear to compel us to do so, even if we do not want to. This was the way He related with Israel in the Old Testament. However, He could also make us desire or be willing to obey Him. This is the beauty of the New Covenant. He gives us the heart to follow Him.
If you find out that you sincerely do not want the things God wants, or you desire the things He does not want, or you find it difficult to surrender to Him, start by assimilating this truth that God can put desires in our hearts. Just knowing and believing this simple truth begins the process for the Spirit working on your desires. Since I discovered this truth, I repeatedly pray and ask the Father to always make my heart tender before Him, and I know and believe what I am asking for. From my own experience, I have learned that my heart is deceptive and that I cannot count on myself. Therefore, I depend on Him, not only for the power to live but also for the willingness to obey Him.
Therefore make room for the Lord to work in your heart. It begins by absorbing this revelation: understanding it, believing it thoroughly, and acting on it.
Why does God give you the desire to do His will? Why doesn’t He always use Authority to command us to do His will even if we do not desire it?
Apply the Word
God can change our desires—that is a bold affirmation! Rather than living a miserable life of doing what we do not want to do, God wants to work powerfully in our hearts and give us the desire to do His will. When we do what we want to do, we enjoy doing it no matter the difficulty because it is what we want to do!
Ask the Father to give us the desire and power to do His will.