THE DESIRES OF OUR HEART

Our mind has conditioned the heart to subconsciously long form something through the years. Our preferences and even our convictions in life are built from principles that we have accepted as true and favorable for our well-being. These principles are introduced through teachings, personal influences like family and close friends, and even in certain environments. These desires will either bring us to our ultimate purpose in life or will cause our ultimate downfall.

We are all created differently by God. Yes, I did say “created” and I did say “God” because the foundation of my preferences and convictions come from my background as a Bible-believing Jesus follower. I put a premium on the written Word of God and regard it as truth. Going back to what I was saying, WE ARE ALL CREATED DIFFERENTLY BY GOD with varying degrees of desire in life. Let me expound it for you – let’s say 5 people graduated at the same time and all of them want to be an engineer. You may argue that all of them desire the same course, but when you dig deeper, you find out that one wants to take Civil Engineering, one wants to take Electrical Engineering, then the rest wants to take Industrial Engineering. You might think, that three of them have the same desire, but if you go down to a different level, you’ll find out that the reason would be different to a certain degree. One desires to go abroad, one wants to give their family a better life, and the other was just making their parents happy. Every life on earth is a unique strand that starts and ends in its own unique way.

As we contemplate the purpose of our lives, we don’t realize that the desires of our hearts have already taken shape through things we passively delight in. Some people never realize that their careers have always been a product of things they have been enjoying in life. I know people who finished college in a particular course but ended up in a different career because people will always gravitate towards things they like. But as a Christian, I understood that my purpose is defined by a higher standard. Psalm 37:4 says that the desires of my heart, the design of my whole being, will only be evident if I delight myself in the Lord. If I consume my time and efforts in knowing my Savior, only then will I understand what my heart ultimately wants.

Wait a minute…the verse says God will GIVE US the desires of our heart and not make us realize them! Yup, you’re right…but what I also found out as I was delighting in Him, is that my desires are now closely aligned to His desires. In His omniscience, he already knows what I want and what I need even before the world began. Psalm 90:2 says that from everlasting to everlasting, He is the eternal God. His knowledge of who I am has been complete even before I was born. That is why, delighting in Him is the only way I would be able to know what is in store for me in the coming days, weeks, months, and years!

As Christians, I don’t think there is another way for us to live than for Christ. Philippians 1:21 says that for Paul, life is not just FOR Christ, but IS Christ. He takes it a couple of steps further. The last part of the verse even says that death is not even a loss for a Christian, it’s GAIN! We gain glory after our life here on earth is done…so better live it like Christ! People are watching. Unbelievers are observing. John MacArthur once said, “You are the only Bible some unbelievers will ever read.”

When we decide to delight in Him, we have to be consistent because our lives depend on Him. I love what C.S. Lewis said, “Relying on God has to start all over every day as if nothing has yet been done.” I hope and pray that we do not cease looking unto Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

3 A.M. MUSINGS

Yes, I am writing this in the wee hours of the morning and No, this is not an ode to the song by Matchbox 20, though some similarities may be seen except for the part where it says “…I must be lonely.” (just search the lyrics if doesn’t make sense)

A lot of things are keeping me awake these days – health scares, financial worries, pending projects, etc. Out of all those things, nothing is more potent than thinking about your purpose in life. “What should I be doing with my life?” I’m almost at my 40’s and I might still be considered young by most of the people I work with, but then it does not exclude me from wondering if I am doing what I am supposed to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work and most of the people I work with, but then something at the back of my mind is telling me that there is more I can do. This is the main thing that makes me turn on my computer and just start typing away.

IS IT TIME TO FINISH MY STUDIES?

This is always my insecurity. I was privileged to go to college but there came a moment in my life that I had to stop and help out. It was the common route for the struggling Filipino family. The eldest would start working so that the other siblings could continue their studies. I did not hate the idea. I did not despise my parents for it. I even felt that it was the honorable thing to do and I am glad that I submitted to my parents. Somehow, I feel like I am part of my sisters’ success – An Elementary Teacher and a Medical Technologist.

The privilege of restarting my educational journey was always available but often put aside. A lot of things were considered a priority. Then I got married, given two kids, and now a full plate at work. As I look at my life and the niche God had carved out for me, there is this need of upgrading. I am grateful and still at awe that God would use a high school graduate to manage His ministry. There is no doubt that God can use anyone He wants, but then I read somewhere that GOD USES PREPARED PEOPLE. Willingness is not enough to get us there. At some point, we will need to develop and enhance a particular skill set and learn to use new tools of our chosen trade.

SHOULD I GET A NEW JOB OR START A BUSINESS?

Financial security is one of the goal we have as a family. Currently, we are undergoing debt management. A lot of wrong decisions in life have pushed us deep into debt and we are starting the long journey out.

Some of my friends of the same faith have asked me, “Shouldn’t you just build capacity and let God handle your finances?” Technically, that’s what we are starting to do. Exercising my faith in finances does not mean doing nothing and waiting for God to bless me. I believe that building capacity is also being financially literate. Being a good steward means creating good cash flow and knowing when to invest. The underlying purpose in our goal to be financially secured is not just for comfort sake but also to open possibilities of helping out people and ministries. That’s why a second job or my own business seems promising.

There is this fine line between acceptable profits and selfish gains that I don’t want to cross. I don’t want to work my ass off just for the sake of making money. I want to make it clear for myself and my family why we need the extra money. Having a clear objective makes it easier for us to lay out our petition to God. As of today, we have a lot of things lined up and we are earnestly praying for God’s timely provision. Our family has gone through a lot of tight financial situations, and every single time, God has proven himself as the great provider. So now, upon the realization of God’s overflowing provision, the motive behind getting a new job or starting a business shifts from a point of financial gain to an opportunity of influence. This is what contributes to my early morning self-reflection moments.

EXPANDING OUR INFLUENCE

I believe that our purpose will have a lasting impact that would echo even after we are gone. What legacy are we leaving behind? What kind of influence do we have with the next generation? As a father of two kids, I have to take those question seriously. There is only so much I can do with the remaining time I have, so I have to make every day count. I cannot change the world for them, but I can equip them with the right mentality and attitude needed to respond to the changing times. If there is one thing I desire, that’s making sure my babies establish a belief system that can give them hope and confidence in living their lives. As a Christian, I know that Jesus is the foundation of that belief system.

For what shall it profit a man,
if he shall gain the whole world,
but lose his soul
?
Mark 8:36

My self-reflection will always come to this conclusion – Whatever I am doing, it should serve the ultimate purpose of God which is spreading the good news. Whether I would pursue my studies, get a new job, or start my own company, everything should serve the ultimate purpose. So now, the end is in mind, what’s next?