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The Desire of Our Hearts

The Desire of Our Hearts

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a man in our church. We were talking about his marriage, his kids, his work, his possessions, and how his faith fit into all of these things. And then he said this, “I want to have it all.” I totally get that. I don’t know about you, but I have so many competing desires within me. I want to eat whatever I want, however much of it I want, and I also want to keep my weight down. There are some things I really want to spend money on right now and I also really want to grow my savings during this season. The same is true for you. Some of you really want the joy of being married and you want the freedom of being single. Some of you want to live in San Francisco and you want to live in New York and you want to live in London.

We are human beings with an assortment of desires. But some of the things we want – if we get them, it means we’ll miss out on other things we want.

I’m assuming you’re here today because you want some of God in your life. Wanting some of God in our lives will not necessarily bring more of God into our lives. The reason is this: as long as there are other things we want more than God, those things have a way of crowding God out of our lives. It is Jesus who best describes how this happens.

Mark 4:19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

For me, sure I want God in my life. But at times, my desire for other things more than God has pushed God out of my life entirely. You might think that my aim today is to get rid of every other desire in your life, so that you only desire God. That is not my aim, because I don’t think it’s God’s aim.

Psalm 145:16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

If we begin living out what we’re aiming for today:

-we will replace our evil desires with good desires.

-we will rightly order our good desires.

-we will have one ultimate desire that takes center stage in every area of our lives.

What is the ultimate desire in your heart?

I know it can seem like this is a hard question to answer, so maybe start with this question first. What do you spend most of your time daydreaming about, worrying about, or obsessing over? However you answer that question likely provides some kind of clue to the ultimate desire in your heart.

Our text for today is Isaiah 26:1-8. You’ll hear the text begin with “in that day”. What day is Isaiah referring to? He seems to be envisioning a near future moment for those in the city of Jerusalem, which was the capital of the kingdom of Judah. But he’s also anticipating another future moment when the Messiah fully ushers in his kingdom. This means that this word is for us, for all of us who are waiting for God’s justice to fully come. For all of us who long for peace in our lives and in this world.

Isaiah 26:1-8 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down – the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

“Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”

What does it mean for God’s name and renown to be the desire of our hearts?

It can’t mean that God’s name is an equal desire to the 200 other desires that are in our hearts. It means that God’s name and His renown are the chief desire of our hearts, the central passion of our hearts, the ultimate longing of our hearts.

There is a name that occupies first place in our hearts. It could be that special someone in your life. It could be the name or names of your children. It might be the name of your company. The name that tends to be the desire of our hearts is our name.

When someone starts having success, we say, “Wow, they’re really making a name for themselves.” We use words like fame and celebrity to describe those who have already made a name for themselves. This passage in Isaiah compares two different groups of people: a city made strong by God and a city that has made itself lofty. Hearing this makes me recall what happened in Babel.

Genesis 11:1-4 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

What’s the big idea of your life? Whose name is the deepest desire in your heart?

Is your greatest ambition to make a name for yourself?

A life that puts you at the center of it all and attempts to make your name the greatest is such a small life.

Why would God care so much about his name being the ultimate desire in our hearts?

If I told you that I wanted my name to be the deepest desire in your heart, you would think I’m an egotistical narcissist. So is this the reason God wants us to live for his fame, his renown, his glory?

God knows that every human heart makes something ultimate, something that occupies center stage in their lives. And God knows that He is the only being in the universe who is ultimate, who is worthy of being the center of it all.

This is what brings the greatest security and strength to our lives. Straight from the text: when God’s name is the ultimate desire of our lives, we become strong. We trust Him, our minds are steadfast when He’s the center, and He keeps us in perfect peace. Anxiety comes to our hearts and minds when we make something besides God the ultimate aim of our lives.

Our path becomes level and smooth when we’re walking in his ways and living for his glory. How do we practically do this?

We pray. When Jesus teaches us to pray, he shows us how to do the very thing we’re talking about today.

Matthew 6:9-10 “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

Hallowed be your name – may it be set apart. This was Jesus’s way of saying, “May your name and renown be the desire of our hearts.” Your kingdom come. Your will be done.

We worship. Our aim in our corporate worship gatherings and the reason we should all personally worship every single day is so that we’re reminding ourselves that God’s name is above everything else and it’s an opportunity for us to tell God He’s above everyone else.

We long and wait for His presence and His ways to be manifest on this earth. Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you.

Psalm 42:1-2 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

We display it. With our actions and our words, we can show that the name of Jesus is the ultimate desire of our lives.

“What Yahweh wants is a living, breathing people to put his name on display. To show the world what he is like, not only by what we say, but by how we live.” John Mark Comer, God Has a Name

Last month, I was texting a friend who was just about to launch his new company in a very public way. I asked how I could pray for him and this launch. Here is his reply:

“Please pray for God’s favor and protection on launch day and each day after, and that (name of company) would become a platform for God’s glory now and in the future.”

There’s nothing wrong with my friend or you or me praying for our success. But with this and other good desires, we want the biggest idea of our lives and the ultimate desire of our hearts to be the glory of God.

I have so many desires for what will happen in my family, in our church, and in our city. But over all of those desires is my desire that God’s name would be known and valued above everything else.

I’ve spent the majority of this message talking about how we relate to God, but I need you to know how He relates to us too.

“In our desire after God let us keep always in mind that God also has desire, and His desire is toward the sons of men, and more particularly those sons of men who will make the once-for-all decision to exalt Him over all. Such as these are precious to God above all treasures of earth or sea. In them God finds a theater where He can display His exceeding kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. With them God can walk unhindered; toward them He can act like the God He is.” A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Every human being goes through life looking for something that will satisfy or deliver. We’re told that we’ll find it in the name of a spouse or the name of a position or the name of a company. But these names never quite do for us what we ask them to do for us.

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

You can end your search today. Put your faith and life into the hands of Jesus, the One who has a name above every name.

One day, my name will be forgotten. Yours will be too. Even this church’s name will one day no longer be remembered. But there’s ONE NAME that will still have center stage. And what if we use our one, eventually forgettable life to push everyone we can to the name that will never be forgotten?! Yes, Lord, walking in your way, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

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