What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? Whatcould you ever trade your soul for? – Mark 8:36-37 MSG
I received a devotional text message this morning that included the abovementioned scripture and it got me thinking… How many times do we lose ourselves in our personal pursuits? How many times do we betray the integrity of our hearts to get to where we think we want to be, only to discover that the destination wasn’t worth the journey? There comes a time, after an extended period of warning, that God actually leaves us to be consumed by the “thing” we refuse to surrender. I think this is the true essence of Mark 8:36-37. The reflective, yet rhetorical, questions posed serve the dual purpose of examination and warning.
I, like every one of you, have prayer requests sitting on the altar that have yet to be answered by God….. or perhaps have been answered, but have not yet manifested in this physical (natural) world. I have come to accept, however, that God knows everything and moves in accordance to this higher knowledge. He tells us in His Word that only He knows the plans He has for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). So, with this truth in mind, I have to really process Mark’s questions. What if I do get everything I want and find that I really didn’t want them? Or that they really don’t satisfy/fulfill me? Or worse, what if I get everything I want and find that it changes who I am….who God intended me to be? Would it really be worth it at that point? Would I truly be satisfied and fulfilled having attained all I desired?
At a certain point in your walk with God, you have to just accept that He knows best and that not everything you desire/want is good FOR you. Not because something is good TO you, means it’s good FOR you. We have to realize that not all our desires are in line with what God wants for us. That is why we have to be careful of misinterpreting the scripture in Psalm 37:4, which states “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Too often we take that to mean that whatever we desire, once we delight ourselves in God, He’ll give it to us. We have to be careful of that interpretation because our desires come from the heart; that place the Bible calls “deceitful and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). So, how can we be so sure that the desires that we are delighting in God to receive, are actually pleasing to God? The true revelation behind Psalm 37:4 is this – If we delight ourselves in the Lord, then HE will GIVE our heart what it should desire. He will literally place a desire (for whatever He wants) in our hearts. Picture God handing your heart a box marked “desire”. That’s the latent essence of that scripture. And once we are delighting in Him, the desires He gives us will bring us more fulfillment, peace, and satisfaction than our own “deceitful and wicked” heart-generated desires could ever bring.
What does it profit you to get everything you want, to please people, to advance in all your pursuits, to check everything off your bucket list, if it causes you to move away from who you are at your core, or causes you to lose the connection you once had with God? Do you have real peace, or are you just comfortable? My friends, I have found (from personal experience) that NOTHING is worth “losing your soul” for. Absolutely nothing.
Prayer: Lord, we’re often disappointed and devastated when we don’t get what we want or what we have worked hard for. Sometimes we venture outside of your will just to pursue things we think will help satisfy our flesh or give us a sense of worth. Help us to realize that although getting our heart-generated desires may bring us comfort and perhaps even the approval and acceptance of man, it will never bring us true peace and ultimate fulfillment. It profits us nothing to gain everything we (think we) want and simultaneously lose ourselves…and our connection to You. Give us the strength to make the Grace-afforded trade of our desires for Yours. Amen.