Here are 4 things that will happen when God is saying, “Don’t waste your desire!”
1. If You Are Denying a Desire and This Is Causing You to Not Pursue a Good Thing that Pleases the Lord, This Is a Sign God Is Saying, “Don’t Waste Your Desire!”
While our desires can easily get out of balance because of our sinfulness, it’s also true that having a strong desire is actually a blessing from the Lord too. If we had no desires, no passions, and no longings to pursue, we would be far more likely to live a meaningless and apathetic life.
Desires are often God-given signals meant to point us in the right direction. If I have a desire to eat, it’s because God made me to need food. If I have a desire to quench my thirst, it’s because God made me to drink water. If I have a desire to sleep, it’s because God made me to need rest. If we neglect our healthy desires, we are neglecting God’s design of us.
Through unbiblical teaching, shame, or spiritual warfare, we can come to believe that some good desires are actually bad. Some people have come to believe it’s a bad desire to want to be married, to want to pursue a useful ministry, or to want to make more money to provide for yourself and your loved ones. Of course these desires can become idols if we let them usurp God’s place in our hearts, but God is the one who made marriage (Genesis 2:18), God is the one who calls us to ministry (Matthew 28:29-20), and God is the one who made resources to be used for our benefit (1 Timothy 6:17).
God gives us good desires so we are motivated to pursue good things. If you are denying a good desire and it is causing you to not pursue a good thing that would please the Lord, God is telling you not to waste this desire.
2. If Pursuing a Specific Desire Is Needed in Order to Sanctify a General Desire, God Is Probably Telling You to Not Waste This Desire and Pursue It
Desires are a tricky thing because oftentimes they are not fully matured. Over the years, the root of the desire will remain the same but the particular expression of that desire often matures into something more concrete and correct.
For example, you may have a strong desire to marry this specific person you believe is the one. But then you try and it doesn’t work. Years later, however, you then meet the true right person God does want for you and then you get married. That desire for that first person was simply a general desire for marriage and you attached it to the wrong specific expression. Over the years, God refined this general marriage desire and allowed it to mature into a specific desire to marry this exact person God wanted you to marry.
Therefore, if you are unsure if this specific desire is just a general desire misapplied, God will often lead you to pursue it because through the pursuit God will sanctify your desires more and more. If a specific desire doesn’t work out like you wanted, this just means it was the wrong specific expression of the deeper general desire that is still there. You just need more time to learn to pursue the correct specific expression of that general desire.
As Proverbs 19:21 explains, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
3. If Pursuing This Desire Will Benefit Other People for the Glory of God, This Is a Sign the Lord Is Saying, “Don’t Waste This Desire!”
We have to be careful we are not pursuing desires that are just selfish and sinful. As James 1:14-15 warns against, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Notice, however, that not all desire is sinful. Psalm 37:4 states, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
One way you can know whether or not a desire is selfish or godly is by looking at who it benefits. James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” A God-given desire will benefit you but it will benefit others too and bring glory to the Lord. Marriage for example is a good desire that benefits you but properly used it will also benefit your future spouse, your future kids, and the community of people your marriage can serve.
Psalm 51:12-13 (NIV) says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.” If you have a desire that will not only benefit yourself but it will also benefit other people for the glory of God, this is a good sign the Lord is saying, “Don’t waste your desire.”
4. If the Only Reason You Are Not Pursuing This Desire Is Your Fear of Failure, This Is a Sign God Is Saying, “Don’t Waste Your Desire!”
I’m a firm believer that it is far better to have tried but failed rather than having failed to try.
Additionally, sometimes the failure leads you down the right road God wants you on. It may not be the road you thought you wanted, but when you end up on that road because the road you tried to pursue was closed to you, you oftentimes realize this is the road you needed to be on this whole time. But without trying and failing you would have always been sitting still. At least now you are on the right road even though you had to experience failure and disappointment to get there. Even if the process is messy, getting to the right place is always far better than remaining safely in the wrong place.
Fear is never a good motive for anything. If you know God is releasing you to pursue this desire, if you know this desire is good, and if you believe there is a possibility of this desire bringing glory to God – but the only reason you are not pursuing it is because you are afraid of failure, God is telling you to pursue this desire.
As 2 Timothy 1:6-7 teaches us, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”