Around ten years ago, I discovered that my oldest daughter was into drugs. And, I had suspected it for a few years, probably just was in denial, but an incident one night happened and it was a confirmation. She admitted, “I’m pretty deep into a drug addiction.” The next morning, we headed to the hospital just to seek help because I had no idea what to do, as I’d never dealt with drugs in that capacity. That began a long, long, long road, many years, of just battling with my daughter…drugs.
My name is Cherry and I’m a prayer minister. I get to sit and watch the Lord speak into others and heal and deliver. So, it’s an amazing, amazing calling. When I was approached about sharing my story, I was excited because I have hundreds and hundreds of stories about healing and deliverance. I’ve just seen God do amazing, beautiful things. One evening while driving I’m like, “Okay God, which story am I going to share?” Because you’ve just given me so many stories. He spoke something into my heart that really took me by surprise. And I’m like, Oh, okay, wait a minute, God. Not sure about this story. What He said to me was, “Cherry, you are not her salvation, I am.” That phrase has penetrated my heart just over and over and over again, many, many times over the past ten years. So, I knew from there that this is the story that I want to share.
I began to ask the Lord over and over and over again, “God, why? Why? I’ve dealt with this before in family members. Why again now?” And also, I just began to ask, “What have I done to contribute to my daughter’s downfall? God, help me help her. What do I do?” I continually would just feel His love and His peace, and He would just help me internally, but then I could see how deep she was going into it. She began, through the years, to just go deeper and deeper. In and out of the hospital, in and out of jail. Just doing all the ugly things that someone does when they’re addicted to drugs. It hurt me, it hurt my children, and it hurt my family. We didn’t trust her, but I just so deeply loved her, and I wanted to help her. I wanted to rescue her. I had extremely strong boundaries with her, which was from the help of my family members. I had good boundaries. She couldn’t live with me. I didn’t give her money. I basically just said, “You’re on your own.” She was an adult, and this was her choice.
READ THE FULL STORY OF PETER AT THEUNSEENSTORY.ORG
There is a small difference between desires and expectations. But this small difference makes a huge impact on our relationship with God and with one another. A desire is a strong feeling or wanting to have something. An expectation is the belief that you will have that thing.
They are so similar it is hard to distinguish between the two at first. However, if we can look closely at how we react when a desire or expectation goes unmet, we can discover the difference between these two words and why we need to pay closer attention to them in our relationships.
I’ve only been married for twelve years but I have learned in that time a lot about the difference between desires and expectations. Let me give a personal example…
I love coming home from work to a clean house, a hot dinner and happy kids. I really enjoy that. It makes me so happy that I want to start handing out money, toys and hugs. When we were first married, this desire of mine happened all the time! I remember, while living in Finland, I would come home from soccer practice and there would be a nice hot meal waiting at the table for me.
Then we had a baby. A precious baby girl! Thank you Jesus!
Then another one…a boy named Isaac.
Again?! Meet Joshua.
Wait what?!?! Eleanor…help us, Lord.
We are blessed and our quiver is full (I think)!
I remember somewhere in that season of blessing I came home and the house was a disaster. Think Walmart gets hit by a tornado. I could hear sounds of crying children in the background, my wife was stressed and there was no smell of chicken pot pie. For a moment, I was tempted to think that my wife was not being loving or kind towards me…because she knows how much I love a clean house, a hot meal and happy kids. It was at this moment I had to decide whether this was a desire or an expectation.
If it was simply a desire, I could come home and hop right into the chaos and help my wife carry the load. However, if it was an expectation, I would take this situation personally. “
“Why wasn’t the house clean? She knows how much this means to me? Does she not care about me?”
I wish I could say it was a light switch moment but it wasn’t. I screwed it up and got my feelings hurt plenty of times. But In order for an expectation to become a desire, we have to stop taking things so personally. That day it wasn’t about me. My desire for those things was trumped by my wife’s reality of having to deal with kids and all the duties of keeping a house. I had to let that desire go to really love my wife and my family. That can be painful but it always produces life.
The difference between a desire and an expectation is this…
A desire is submitted to another person (or God) in love, trust and patience.
An expectation is shared with a demand, a “shot clock” and consequences (if unmet).
In our relationship with God and one another, we must move to living by desire instead of expectations. The reason we place expectations on one another is because we believe that God is placing expectations on us. But I believe, in the New Covenant, God has put his laws into our hearts (see last weeks devotional) and so his laws and commandments become our desires! So God doesn’t demand that we do things, he simply reveals to us what He desires and he trusts that because we now love him, we will obey those commandments. If you really love someone, doing things for them doesn’t feel like obedience, it feels like love!
The prophet Jeremiah wrote these words, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
These words have been used for years to warn Christians about the dangers of trusting their heart. Afterall, if our own hearts are deceitful above all things and sick, why would we trust that as our moral compass? But is this the heart condition of the born again believer?
Further on in the book of Jeremiah, we read these words:
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
When Moses ascended the mountain where God would make covenant with his people, God wrote, with his finger, the laws on tablets of stone. However, we see in the new covenant, God picks a different canvas to write his laws. For the one who enters into the new covenant through the body and blood of Jesus Christ, God takes his finger and writes his laws on our hearts. What does this mean practically?
It means that God has put within us, by the Holy Spirit, the desire to walk righteously. When we are born again, we are no longer (at the core of our being) prone to wander and rebel against him. The beauty of the new covenant is that God changes our operating system from the lusts of the flesh to the desires of the Spirit. The desires of Spirit are opposed to the desires of the flesh, and when we learn to TRUST the spirit born desires, placed deep within us by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will actually find that the spirit-filled desires of our born-again hearts will confine us to good behavior more than the law ever could!
Let me prove it to you!
How many of you reading this, woke up this morning with a genuine desire to rebel against God? How many of you think…how can I sin and get away with it? Though you may be conscious of the lusts of the flesh, the greater reality is that you resist them and at the core of your heart is a deep longing to please God and to walk in all of his ways. This desire, placed deep within your heart, is evidence of God’s cleansing work that he has wrought in your heart through the atonement.
I am passionate about helping people discover the power of living from their spirit-filled desires placed within their heart and mind (Hebrews 8:10). When we learn to trust and live from our born-again heart, we are actually showing Jesus that we trust in his atoning work. It honors his work as our Messiah to receive and live from the spirit-filled desires that God has promised to place inside of us through the new covenant.
I’ll close with this exhortation that Paul writes to the Galatians…
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)
The secret to being free from the lusts your flesh is to walk by and yield to the desires of the Spirit! It does not say, when you stop gratifying the desires of the flesh, you will be walking by the Spirit! The Spirit, placed within your heart, has desires…and the secret to living in freedom and joy is to cultivate and live from those desires.