Jump Start # 2432
Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”
Our verse begins with the expression, “my heart’s desire.” We could call that Paul’s dream. Paul’s wish. Paul’s hope. You and I have such things. Every time a birthday gets near, someone asks, “What would you like for your birthday?” The other day my wife and I watched Disney’s Aladdin. A magic lamp. A genie. Three wishes. It got me to thinking, what would I wish for if I had just three wishes. Those thoughts can quickly become materialistic, vain and selfish. Living in a large castle, my own private golf course and a Duesenberg to drive would be mighty fine. But that didn’t last long. I thought about some of the college football games I saw over the weekend. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a stadium full of Christians who loved and followed the Lord? Not just one stadium, but every college stadium. Packed. Standing room only. All Christians. Preaching. Singing. Making an impact for the Lord. Wouldn’t that be amazing!
Paul’s wish was for his people, Israel. The Jews. He was one of them. He knew them. Now, he was preaching a message that upset them. He wanted them to follow him. He wanted them to be saved.
Now here is something we see about spiritual wishes, dreams and goals. Every church ought to have some. Every Christian ought to have some. If we don’t have challenges and goals, it’s easy to drift. Without any specifics, we tend to settle for whatever comes along. Imagine a guy who wants to lose weight. You ask him what is his goal. He says, “lose some weight.” You ask, “how much and how soon.” That’s a definite goal. Ten pounds a month? Now, do the same spiritually. I’ve done this with groups before. You ask, “What’s your goals for this church?” The answers are generally all about the same, “Get as big as we can.” “Great. How are you going to do that?” Silence follows. Lose weight isn’t very specific nor driven. Grow as a church isn’t very specific nor driven.
So, here’s a few thoughts:
First, put prayer behind your wish. Paul wanted Israel to be saved. He’s prayed that by the time you get to Romans ten. He’s given God his ideas. He’s laid out his plans on Heaven’s table. As we end a year, it’s not only a time to reflect and be thankful, but it’s time to pray and plan.
Second, put some action behind your wish. Paul wanted Israel to be saved. He’s been preaching and preaching that. Romans is but one way he’s been trying to accomplish this. His journeys. His reasoning in synagogues. His effort and energy, even after he became an apostle to the Gentiles, illustrates this. You want to get strong in the Lord. How are you going to do that? What’s the plan? What are you doing about it? Watching TV every night until you fall asleep won’t get this done. You want the church to grow. Awesome. What’s the game plan? What energy are you putting behind your dreams? Are you just waiting for someone else to accomplish these things?
Third, put some persistence behind your wish. Stay at it. Stay with it. Things take time. Change and growth don’t come over night. Keep plugging away. Keep reading that Bible. Keep taking notes. Keep inviting everyone you know. Keep pushing things out on social media. One drop in the bucket doesn’t seem like much. But if those drips keep falling, after time, that bucket will be overflowing.
Fourth, put your wish on paper. Isn’t that what we have with our verse today. This wasn’t a secret wish that Paul had. This wasn’t just between Paul and God. The Holy Spirit had Paul put this on paper. This is how we know about this. Got a spiritual goal? Put it on your frig so everyone can see it. Put it on a bulletin board in the church building so all can see it. Put it on paper. There it is before your eyes and the eyes of anyone who passes by. Putting goals on paper has a way of making it permanent and absolute. It’s harder to change or stop those goals once others have seen it. Making it visible also reminds us. This is what we are after. This is what we want. Having a goal visible keeps these other points before us.
Fifth, prepare for resistance. It always happens. Satan will try to keep you from accomplishing your spiritual goals. You decide that you want to start reading a chapter of the Bible every morning before you head out to work. Great goal. You set your alarm clock a little bit earlier than normal. You can’t wait. But in the middle of the night, one of the kids gets sick. Or, the kids miss the school bus and you have to take them to school. Or, the car won’t start. Or, the toilet overflows. Now, your extra time is gone. Now, you are rushing just to make it out of the house to get to work on time. Now, your mind is filled with all kinds of stress. Your plan just got sidetracked. This happens. Don’t let it be enough to destroy your goal. Just breathe. Find that time to read later in the day. Maybe at lunch. Maybe in the evening. Similar distractions can happen to a church. Great plans can be sidetracked by issues with the church building or a death in the congregation or a couple of fussing brethren. Suddenly, the theme of the year is trashed. The goals are forgotten. And, we are drifting along, just like last year. Just breathe. Keep your focus. Get back to what is good and right.
Paul’s heart desire. What’s yours? See your family members come to Christ? See elders appointed in the congregation? See the church grow so much that you have to add on? See yourself appointed as a shepherd some day? Preach the Gospel?
What are you doing about these “heart’s desires?” What’s the difference between these and rubbing a magic lamp or finding a four leaf clover? Paul’s wishes included God and they included action on his part. How about you? Are you doing anything with your heart’s desires?