All of us at some point have wanted to live in the dream. We have desired to have a great job, a nice house, outstanding kids and an extraordinary spouse. Life would be good if we had all of these things. We may not desire to be rich, but just enough. Our desires are not sinful. They are good things not outside of the Lord’s power.
I even would find biblical justifications for my desires. I would quote, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (Prov 30:8–9).
But I began to notice even though we desire good things, it is not a guarantee for God to grant them. Yes, we may oppose the prosperity gospel, but do we have the seeds of prosperity and worldly thinking crept in without awareness? This way of thinking particularly exists in the churches in two areas: marriage and children. Here, I want to talk about the desire for children.
I pray daily the Lord will grant my wife a child. So far, we have not been blessed with a child. Last December, my wife and I faced an ectopic pregnancy and I remember reading, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Ps 127:3). I desire children, why God has not granted them? Frustration began to sit in and I would face a number of questions from other believers. “When are you and your wife going to have children?” “Aren’t you ready for children?”
I don’t believe the brethren who asked these questions were ill-intended, but I found myself beginning to expect that God would grant me what I want since I believe it is good. I came to realize: God has never promised me children simply because I am married.
We want good things, but we can’t expect them as if God owes them to us. Wanting children is a good desire. But when does this kind of desire become sinful? I found that my desires become sinful when I demand them from God.
The logic is this: to have children is good, and I want children, therefore I should have them. God does not serve us; instead, we as his creatures serve him, and everything we have is given out of his grace and mercy, which includes children.
And this not only occurs with children, but with other desires as well. The desire for a spouse, to be in pastoral ministry or a home in an expensive city. These are good and honourable things to desire, but not guaranteed. I recall an old saying, “the only thing in life guaranteed in this life is death and paying taxes.” However, as Christians, we must be content in any circumstance the Lord places us trusting Him to give us exactly what we need and not necessarily what we deserve. Give thanks for what you have been given. A thankful heart can produce contentment.
Phillippians 4:11-13: “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am. I know how to get along with humble means and I also know how to live in prosperity in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. I hope this article helps us to think more about relationships within the church, our wants, desires and expectations.”