Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21
These passages give us a view of what we identify as the “Ten Commandments”. I have neither the time nor inclination to take the one by one and give a dissertation or exegete them. However, for the purpose of this devotional, I want to deal with a matter that has long been in my heart and one that many seem to struggle with in life. The matter of our “want to” and what we are to do while God is dealing with our hearts in addressing the “want to” within us.
What am I talking about? I am talking about the human heart and its total conversion to “Christlikeness” and “Conformity” to the Word, Will, and Way of God. I am talking about the Christian Life lived in the fullest dimension and whether we can or should expect God to purge the “want to” from us regarding sin and things contrary or counter to His character and nature. Some believe that there is a singular moment with God so transforms the heart that you no longer have a tendency or temptation to sin. Others believe that God never takes away the desire or bent toward sin from us and others believe that it is a process in which we are progressively sanctified and the “want to” is dealt with divinely. I am not trying to stir up controversy but suffice it to say, UNTIL God deals with the “want to” in our hearts regarding sin and the tug of the world WHAT is our responsibility? Now, we are getting to where the rubber meets the road spiritually. Daily living and personal responsibility.
I go to the Ten Commandments to help me understand this problem or potential and look at the command regarding COVETOUSNESS. That is the “want to” commandment where God is focused on the human heart. In all the other covenants we are told DON’T DO THIS or DO THIS but, in this commandment, He is dealing with the WANT TO. The focus is on the desire of the heart or the “want to.” I believe that when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, repenting of our sins and are born-again through the sacrificial blood of the atonement we are CHANGED and become ANOTHER PERSON. We are not the same and although we struggle with many things in life and temptation continues to raise its ugly head our DESIRE is to Please God and we do not WANT TO SIN. The problem is, we do fall short from time to time. I am not talking about going back to a lifestyle of sin but an occasional bump in the road and stumble in our walk. It may be attitudinal, omission, or commission but the problem is there, and we know it is wrong, often weep over it, and regret its occurrence. If it is totally God’s responsibility to eradicate this condition then we have no responsibility and can just shrug it off and say, “When God totally transform me, I’ll be different,” thereby erasing our personal accountability. That is flawed logic, in my view.
I believe, from my study of Scripture, we should desire THE CHANGE that comes to be complete and experience such sanctification that sin is a historic problem not a current one in our lives. However, since most of us are forced to acknowledge that we do stumble from time to time and err in our words and deeds Determination and Will Power must be infused into the situation. God expects, no He demands from us, personal responsibility and accountability. That, to me, means that I have a part to play in the process. I do not want to sin, not simply because of the consequences of sin alone but because of how it impacts God. It breaks His heart and that I never want to do. I want Him to be pleased with me and I want to become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and live holy because He is holy. Therefore, UNTIL the “want to” is fully dealt with in my heart and the transformation is complete it is my responsibility to exercise restraint and DO NOT or DO what we know to do. It may not be easy, and we may not feel like it but JUST DO IT. Some have argued that doing so would be hypocritical because what we did was not consistent with the heart’s true feelings. I say to that, “Just because your flesh wants to eat 5 pounds of chocolate, but your mind says, that is not healthy, should you just do it because of your desire?” No marriage would survive allowing the eyes or desires of the flesh drive the actions. If you still have a “want to” problem in some areas then it is your responsibility to reach deep inside, with the help of the Holy Spirit and DETERMINE that you WILL NOT, or you WILL do what is right. You may fail, but over time, you will bring your “want to” to the place on God’s altar that it is crucified with Him and no longer problematic. In fact, I’ve found that the more I exercise biblical restraint or engage in the pursuit of biblical principles even when I don’t feel like it or want to do it, the easier it becomes to do right which leads to being right. It is a Heart Issue!
If my “want to” is not consistent with the “ought to” of God, then I must command, my flesh and exercise biblical restraint or pursue biblical commitment and DO RIGHT. God will help us, and I have often thought that His allowing us to be tempted is to help us realize that we are incapable of living this Christian life without the aide of the Holy Spirit and the Grace of God. He says, “Seek Me and you will find me.” When we set our hearts to doing right regardless of the inner desires or temptations HE IS THERE, and His Grace prevails.
God bless you richly as you enjoy this day in Him!