Chasing the Wind
PROVERBS 19:21 There are many devices [schemes] in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
There are many schemes or devices in a man's heart and we hear from every corner how important they are. You know, like "follow your heart" or "know your heart". Contrary to popular teaching, following one's heart can have detrimental results, that is unless of course our steps are ordered by the word of GOD.
GOD is not automatically in one's heart. HE is in HIS word, and as that word is put into our hearts, to that degree GOD is in our hearts. Only then, with GOD's word in our hearts, does GOD become the Master of our hearts.
PROVERBS 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
But so few seem to really want to live as the LORD directs. Instead, they want to call the shots. They want to live as they please. GOD becomes a sugar daddy instead of Father knows best! Many think that if GOD can get them what their heart desires, then they will worship or believe in that GOD. But GOD has HIS own agenda. HE has not created the entire Universe around us, just so we can be fat and sassy and happy.
ROMANS 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts . . .
That is a pretty sobering verse. Through the lust (over-desire) of their hearts, GOD gave them up. Practically speaking, these individuals lost their relationship with GOD because they chased after their own hearts desires.
But there is another way to live, a better way. As the Creator of life itself, GOD is willing to direct believer's lives (PROVERBS 21:1 2 THESSALONIANS 3:5). As an actor on a stage, we have only to play our role as the Director directs. Neither do we strive to play the lead unless the Director has chosen us to that part (ROMANS 12:4,5 1 CORINTHIANS 12:18).
Instead, however, too many are content with Chasing the Wind. Refusing to simply surrender the lordship of their lives, they instead flock to this seminar or that convention. They train their minds (1 CORINTHIANS 1:20), exercise their bodies (1 TIMOTHY 4:8), develop their portfolios (LUKE 12:19-21), supposing to find happiness there; but all is just Chasing the Wind!
ECCLESIASTES 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
From selling soup to electing a new President today, the motivation seems to always be legal tender. A person who instead seeks after the "things which are not seen" (1 CORINTHIANS 4:18) is considered to have his head in the sand. The system paints the picture that if we just won the lottery, oh how wonderful life would be. Then we could "buy a football team" or just "go a fish'n". And all it takes is "a dollar and a dream".
The world promises us that the only thing standing between us and eternal bliss is money (or what it can buy). If we want the perfect spouse, then we need the perfect car (with the extended warranty of course). If we want to be independent, American Express is the ticket, but if we want respect with independence, push to get the American Express Gold Card.
It's an endless ladder. The more we make, the more we see. The more we see the more we want, so the more we make to get what we want and on and on and on. To run with our friends of yesterday, we needed a new car. The friends of today require a new boat. The friends of tomorrow will expect us to have our own jet plane.
Once the system has motivated us by creating the need, it presents the solution; finance it, no interest for 90 days. Why wait, we deserve it now. This is when the pretty girl in the commercial gets in with the guy in the new car (who incidentally is strapped down with huge monthly payments), and she leaves her old boyfriend (who is trying to live within means) in the dust, alone, at the side of the road. But the commercial gives us one more chance to score, "See your Pontiac dealer today".
Unfortunately, six months down the road who is honestly glad they borrowed so much? Very few! How sad it is to see a man spend his youth acquiring a six-digit bank account, perhaps sacrificing family, friends, and personal standards, only to realize the empty feeling he is left with at the end of his life.
just "Chasing the Wind"
No matter how much we make, there will always be something we can't have. No matter how much we learn, there will always be something we don't understand. No matter how physically fit we become, we will always be susceptible to some disease or some illness. That is why it is so much better to have no need, than to be rich. As Paul wrote the Philippians,
PHILIPPIANS 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
With all the wealth, power, and wisdom of the world, there still can be things we need but can't obtain. For some diseases there is no known cure. Genuine love cannot be obtained like a possession. In reality the more money we have, the harder genuine love is to obtain because there are so many who would deceive us with romantic blessings in order to get a slice of our pie. Just a casual reading of the tabloids at the grocery store check out stand will verify this.
But GOD promises us a life of no need. That is bigger than many realize. It's bigger than just eating every day or getting the electric bill paid. Those are of course needs, but this is something of a much greater nature.
When GOD was instructing Moses to go and fetch the children of Israel out of Egypt, Moses had great doubts that he could do it. He asked GOD who he should say had sent him?
EXODUS 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he [GOD] said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
I AM that I AM. The title I AM means that whatever GOD needs to be, HE is. In other words, whatever they needed, GOD would provide. From the Red Sea parting delivering them from their enemies, to the manna they found to sustain them. HE provided everything they needed-signs miracles and wonders! The key is that it was what they needed, not necessarily what their hearts desired.
Regardless of what the popular teaching of the day is, GOD has not promised to give us all of our heart's desires. Really, that can't be logical. What if my heart's desire is for rain on Sunday because I like the rain but your heart's desire is for cloudless skies because you want to get a sun tan? What if your son wants it to be windy so that he can fly his kite, and your daughter wants it to snow because she thinks it's pretty? How about your neighbor who wants the world to end because this whole mess has gotten him totally despondent?
Where does this all lead when their prayers don't get answered? It leads to people giving up on the idea that GOD is a living GOD, who is alive and vital in their lives. They make HIM a piece of stone on a tower, or an assortment of stained glass in a window. To them, GOD is someone they run to last when all else has failed, rather than first, before all else fails. Again, it's just Chasing the Wind.
Much of this confusion regarding GOD giving us the things which our heart's desire comes from the miss-reading of a verse in psalms.
PSALM 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Since we have already seen how a man's heart does not naturally flow with the will of GOD, we can see that the trusting in the LORD of verse 3, and the delighting in the LORD of this verse must set the context of this heart and its desires.
What many take this verse to mean is that GOD will give us the things our heart desires. That's really not the full truth of what it says! It says, "HE shall give thee the desires of thine heart". If we're trusting and delighting in the LORD we will begin to desire things that are in harmony with HIS will.
This is real simple, so let's just take a moment to look at it to see its fundamental truth. First of all, we all have desires. The fact is, as many things as there are to desire, there are people to desire them. So where do all these desires come from? From the object desired? No! Otherwise, we would all desire everything we came in contact with. Desires come from within us, from our hearts, like PSALM 37:4 said, "the desires of the heart"!
So what exactly is this heart that the psalm above is referring to? Surely not this hollow muscle that beats within us? No! It's the "seat and center of man's personal life in which the distinctive character of the human manifests itself" (A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, E.W. Bullinger).
It's where the thoughts, actions and reactions originate within us. Some love to live in the mountains because of what is within them. Some love to live on the sea because of what is within them. Simple enough right? Now the question is raised; where does our heart acquire that which makes it what it is?
The heart has several reservoirs feeding it. The first is our physical makeup which we received when we were conceived. Those traits will flow through our mental heart and contribute to who we are as long as we live. Second, there are the things we receive through our five senses (hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and seeing). This information we receive, assimilate and file away in our minds over the course of our lives. Drawing from these two reservoirs, our hearts begin to desire things, from our mother's breast at birth to our father's car at graduation.
Now, the final reservoir from which the heart may be supplied is the spiritual. It's the heart that GOD looks upon (1 SAMUEL 16:70), and it is the heart in which HE works (PROVERBS 21:1). HIS enlightenment, HIS counsel, HIS warnings, HIS promises, HIS comfort, all comes to the heart of man. And it is here the battle wages. Does man go his own way or GOD's way, to the high road or the low road? It is often here where man goes wrong or right!
ROMANS 6:16-18 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked; that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
When we obey GOD we find ourselves no longer Chasing the Wind. Rather we will open out our sail and catch it. True, we may find ourselves strangely out of step with the rest, but that’s all the more assurance we are on the right road.
And what of these desires, what kind of desires would the LORD give us? Paul wrote to Timothy of one.
1 TIMOTHY 3:1This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
These desires will be good works, which GOD directs. We will leave behind the temporal enjoyments this world offers and seek those eternal thrills only our Creator can give. Sure, our friends may think it strange that we run not with them (1 PETER 4:4), but now with HIM, in a race they cannot see let alone understand. Sure, they may come to hate us (1 JOHN 3:13), even speak evil of us (1 PETER 4:4); but we are in good company for so spoke they of the prophets of old (1 THESSALONIANS 2:15).
2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God…that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished [fully equipped for his voyage] unto all good works.
The only need we have is to run the course GOD has chartered for us. Whatever it takes to run that course determines our need. Just like a ship that is being dressed for its voyage, whatever we require to finish our specific voyage through life is classified as a need and what GOD has promised to supply. If we think we have lack in our life, perhaps its because we are wanting to run a course different than the one HE has selected for us.
While reading the final chapters of this paper, you may see more clearly the course GOD has set for your own life. This is my prayer and hope for you, for when we truly leave all for Him, life begins again. It's a new day because it's a new life!
1 CORINTHIANS 15:57-58 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.