A blind man came to Jesus and Jesus asked him what he wanted. Sounds like a dumb question right? The man was blind. However maybe it isn’t such a dumb question. Luke 18:41
Deep in my heart are desires that I am not entirely aware of and that ultimately control my motivation, drive and gratitude. I need to be careful because if I keep wanting what is bad for me, God may give it to me as punishment to wake me up. Psalm 106:15
I need grace to openly figure out what I want, see if it conforms to God’s desires (do I want to look good to others, be comfortable, live a pain and trouble free life, have power, drown in fun, get others to do my work for me, etc.) and then ask God for what I truly need. See the poem by an anonymous Civil War Soldier:
“I asked God for strength, that I might achieve, I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of others, I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.,
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life, I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for — but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I among all people, most richly blessed.”
God knows what I need even before I ask , Matthew 6:8, but like any good parent, he still wants me to ask and let him decide what is best. This both tests my faith to openly rely on God when I can not see the answer and it encourages my humility by openly acknowledging that I have a need that I can not meet and that he is wiser than I and it might even be best if he said, “No.”
Like the humble man who said, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.” I need to say, “Lord my desires are confused and often contrary to yours but give me what I need and help me to reprogram my heart to be after your own heart. I Samuel 13:14
Sometimes I really just want to circle endlessly on the details of the unfix-able problem. In Philippians 4:6 he tells me to cut it out and with prayer and supplication bring the problem to him, thanking him for what he will do. I am to make “my requests” known to God. Then I am to cast my fear on him remembering that he exists and does care for me.
The last thing in my brain to become aware of what I am doing, is my “logical” cortex. / The inner chatter (heart) and inner desires (what I secretly want and hope will happen) need to be clarified to myself since they are the “boss” but I am either not aware of them or by the time I realize it I have already done the preprogrammed “old nature” response. My brain needs to be reprogrammed because it is out of the heart that deeds will arise.
I need to pray with the psalmist, “Search me O God and know my anxious thoughts and lead me in new ways” Psalm 139:23 I remember one man who struggled with lust and on the surface begged God to take it away. One day he was taking a shower and heard God reply, “But you like your lust problem and would be mad at me if I took it away.”
I can immediately start to catch myself by being more mindful and humbly admitting the times, places, people, emotional states, and triggers that are connected with my screwing up. I can predict these and catch myself and give the Holy Spirit credit for helping me catch myself. I need to be patient because it takes about 3 months for me to reprogram my inner thoughts and desires. Pretty much I need to desire God himself, then he will give me what I desire–himself. Psalm 37:4 All other desires lead to frustration. Matthew 6:33 I need to seek first the kingdom of God.
My experience is that 95 percent of people who would claim to be godly will assure me that the desires of their heart are all pure and fit with the Bible. However, I have found that when I look at God’s ways and am honest with my true response to the thought of applying them, I am sure that I will lose all, be ridiculed, just mess it up because it is impossible, don’t really want to, and it all seems crazy and unfair. Besides I am just not strong enough. If I then take my true inner feelings and thoughts to God and acknowledge them, he helps me obey anyhow. My guess is about 5 percent are enough aware of their heart to get help reprogramming it. God won’t fix my heart if I insist that it is OK.
Lord part of me is hesitant to obey and part of me knows that my way will not work so use my obedience in spite of my inner struggle and help me with my struggle. Like Jonah, God can use my bad attitude obedience and even help me with my bad attitude.
The devil will say that bad attitude obedience is hypocrisy. NO! Hypocrisy is obeying even though I don’t believe it to be right but I see it as having secondary gain for me. Obedience: doing what is right because God said it / no matter what my inner self is chattering on about. Read Matthew 21:30 about the bad attitude obey-er who did the will of his father.