Bible says that when Jesus comes into our life, we are created in the image of Christ. And how you feel about yourself is directly tied to how you see yourself in Christ. It is connected with realizing that God made you unique. You are the person God made you to be. And your self-image is connected with realizing that God made you with certain gifts and abilities and for a purpose and only you can fulfill that purpose.
There is not another person on the face of the earth like you. As a matter of fact, we are told that each of us, every person in the world has a slightly different heartbeat. There is just a slight difference in the pattern of our heartbeat. Every single person has his own. How you feel about yourself and your success is connected and dependent upon understanding your heart. God not only made the outward man, God made you on the inside.
And the Bible says that God wants to give you the desires of your heart. He wants to make you all that you possibly can be. But you must see yourself in His image. And in the image of Jesus Christ and appreciate yourself for who God made you to be. Now, this passage of Scripture is a wonderful promise of God.
Psalm 37:4-5 " Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:"
Psalm 139:13-14 "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--and how well I know it."
God wants to give you the desires of your heart. Now when we talk about your inward man, your inward person, who you are on the inside, we are talking about your hopes and your dreams, your aspirations, your expectations, the way you view your life, the thing that you live for, we are talking literally about the heartbeat of your existence. And the Bible tells us that God wants to give us the desires of our heart. Our inward man has certain dreams, certain hopes, certain ambitions, certain goals, and God wants to give us those goals because it was God Himself who placed them in our heart in the first place.
Because of this, we are all different about the things that we really care about. Would you agree there are some things you care very deeply about? And then there are some things that you care less about. Somebody else may care very deeply about the things you care less about.
For example, when you were in school you know the teacher really cares about biology or, history and some of you could care less about it, but they really care about it. They are trying to get the message over to you. You may care about a certain ministry in the church and somebody else cares less and you wonder why. It is because we are motivated differently because all of us have a different image that God placed in our heart.
Because God wanted some to be deeply concerned about one area and God wanted some to use their gifts and abilities in another area.
So from the very beginning understand that you’re inward man, knowing who you are on the inside, is very, very important because it explains some things that are very important to understand if we are to have the self-image God wants us to have.
I. THE REASONS FOR UNDERSTANDING YOUR HEART'S DESIRE
When the Psalmist said God will give you the desires of your heart, I want you to see three things about that statement. First of all I want you to see the reasons for understanding your heart's desire. And there are some reasons that you need to know what is in your heart. You need to recognize the desires that are so deep within you that were placed there by God.
Number one, because your heart determines why you say the things you do. Proverbs 4:23 the Bible says, "above all else, guard your hearts for it is the wells spring of life." If you are wrong on the inside you are going to be wrong on the outside.
And the Bible says, Jesus said, "For out of the heart, the mouth speaketh." Why do you speak fear? Why do you speak discouragement? Why do you speak defeat? Or why do you speak victory, why do you confess power, or why do you confess illness?
It is because of what is in your heart. What is down in the well will come up in the bucket, amen? And it all springs from what is in your heart, your inward man, who you really are deep inside. And God has to do divine heart surgery. He has to do some work healing us on the inside because we have been hurt, we have been disappointed, we have been confused. All kinds of things happen to us that affect us deep within, that affect our heart.
Number two, you need to understand what your heart's desire is because your heart determines why you think the way you do. The Bible says, "God examines the thoughts and the motives of the heart." You remember Samuel said man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart. Man looks on the outward man. You know, if you don't look just right when you go to school or when you go to work, when you come to church, on the outward man, it upsets you because everybody is looking at you. They see the outward man, not the inward man.
But God looks on the heart. That is why at this church it doesn't matter to us what kind of clothes you wear, it doesn't matter to us whether you have a tie on or not, it doesn't matter if you have rags on or a $1200 suit, God is more concerned about what happens on the inside.
And your heart determines why you think the way you do. So the Bible says, guard your inner man, don't let things come in to your inner man that aren't productive and that aren't helpful because it determines the way you think. Whether you think negatively or positively, guard your heart.
Number three, you need to understand your heart's desire because your heart determines why you act the way you do. The Bible says, "guard your heart for out of it flow the actions of life", Proverbs 4:23. One translation says, "guard your heart, it is the wells spring of life." When you think about a wells spring, you think about water flowing.
So it also means, guard your heart for out of it flow the actions of life. Your inward man determines whether you will be obedient or disobedient to God. Your inward man determines whether you will be passionate, whether you will be diligent, or whether you will be slothful. If you can get the right image of your inward man, then it guarantees your success. So it is so important to understand your heart.
II. THE RESULTS OF FOLLOWING YOUR HEART'S DESIRE
Now, let's look at the results of following your heart's desire. When you understand whom you are deep inside and whom God made you to be and how God made, and you are at peace with that, the results are tremendous.
Look at what the Bible says in Colossians 3:23, "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart; as working for the Lord." He is not talking about preaching or teaching Sunday School; he is talking about your field of business. He is talking about the job where you work. Everybody may not think it is of vital importance but my friend, it is vitally important. You are to work at whatever you do, as though you are doing it for an audience of one, and that is the Lord.
When you do that, when your inward man understands that, then you have an inborn motivation. There are three results. Number one is enthusiasm about your life. Enthusiasm about your job, enthusiasm about your future, enthusiasm about who God made you to be. Did you know the word enthusiasm, enthusiastic comes from two Greek words.
The preposition "en" and the noun "theos" “ entheos “ enthusiasm comes from the word that means in God. God is the source of enthusiasm. And you see when you see yourself as God made you, conformed to the image of Christ, you face your work, you face your life, you face all that you do as for the Lord. So you are in God. You are enthusiastic about it.
Solomon said, my heart took delight in all my work. One of the reasons people aren't enthused today is because they are in the wrong job. They are not doing what God made them to do. And because of that they can't be as enthusiastic as they ought to be.
There was a study made of twenty years of a cross section of American workers to find out the factors between success and failure. And one of the things that they discovered was this thing of enthusiasm.
It said if you do what you love long enough the money will come if you follow your heart. In other words, if you share the interest that God shares for your life, if you delight yourself in the Lord, if you are delighting in how God made you and the gifts and the abilities that God gave you and you are using them in the way that God intended, then you are going to be successful.
You see people don't succeed in what they don't like, amen? Have you found that to be true? People don't succeed at what they don't like because their heart is not in it. They are not living their heart's desire. And they are not living in God and in God's plan, entheos.
Secondly, the results of following your heart's desire rather than just doing what is convenient is effectiveness. The Bible teaches this, the Scripture teaches when we are doing something, as unto the Lord, we will be effective. Another word for inward man or your heart desire is passion. We are to be passionate about life.
Passion is not a bad word, it is not a good word, and it is a neutral word. When we think about passion today, everybody thinks usually about one kind of passion, the physical side of love making, about that kind of passion.
But the Bible says that our heart is to be passionate. God made us to be passionate about our image, about who we are, about what God made us to be. That is when we are really effective in life. Passion is the motivation to give yourself to an idea, to a cause, to a task, to life itself. And if you are living without passion for what you do, then you might ought to check and see whether or not you are doing what God made you to do.
Now there is a difference between passion and lust although they are very closely related. And the difference is very, very simple. Passion is when you want to give yourself to a cause and the more you give yourself to it, the more satisfied you are. Lust is where you burn to give yourself to something and the more you do it, the less satisfied you are.
Did you know that the Bible says that the lust of the flesh will never be satisfied? No matter how much money you make, no matter how successful you are at your business, no matter how many honors and accolades you receive, if it is out of the flesh you will never be satisfied. And on the other hand if you are doing what God says, if you are following the Lord, if you are delighting in Him, the Bible teaches your satisfaction and your joy will increase more and more.
And all through the Bible there are examples of people of passion and we ought to be like them. Moses had a passion to lead the people out of the land of bondage. David had a passion to establish Israel as a great kingdom. Solomon had a passion to build the temple of God. Nehemiah had a passion to rebuild the wall of the city of Jerusalem after it had been broken down.
Paul had a passion, read what he said in his address to the Ephesian elders. He said, none of these things move me; I don't count my life dear unto myself. But to finish the course that God has given me. I want to become who I am; I want to fulfill that motivation that drives me, for the high prize of the calling of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We need to be people of passion.
You know, when you look at the people who really have shaken this world, it is not always the wealthiest, not always the smartest, not always the best educated, but it will always be the people who were passionate about their mission in life and about who they were. And it caused them to be affective.
Then number three the result of following your heart's desire is excellence. Excellence in what you do. Tom Peters wrote a book about the passion for excellence, the passion to always be reaching out for more, to always be moving forward.
The Bible says when you delight yourself in the Lord; He will give you the desires of your heart. You find the most excellent athletes for example, they are not doing what they do just for money, and people who are excellent in their field would do what they do without money.
You may be in a situation that you may be in a job that you were not made for, but right now you are in that job so you find other ways to fulfill that thing for which God made you to be. And you find other ways to fulfill the plan of God in your life.
And you will find that if you do it with a passion for excellence that God will use you in a mighty way. And as God uses you, the more that God uses you, the greater your self-image will improve as you realize you are who God mad you to be and you are functioning in that role that God made you to have.
Charles Garfield wrote, "Peek Performance" studying athletes and astronauts and other professional people who were excellent in their fields. And he said the biggest predicator of success is a strong passion or heart for the work. Far more important than talent or aptitude is passion, is heart. Someone that will put their heart into what they do in life.
III. THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ACHIEVING YOUR HEART'S DESIRE
Then notice thirdly the requirements for achieving your heart's desire. If you want a life of enthusiasm, a life of effectiveness, and a life of excellence, then notice the requirements. Psalm 37:4-5, look at it again, "seek your happiness in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desire.
Give yourself to the Lord, trust in Him and He will help you." Listen folks, there are four steps in achieving your heart's desires. Number one is commit yourself totally to the Lord. I didn't say partially, I didn't say some of your life, I said totally to the Lord. Many Christians are living in no man's land; they have one foot in heaven and one foot in the world. And they are constantly struggling and torn apart.
Jesus said, "Why do you call me Lord and do not the things that I say" the most miserable person in the world is a person who knows the Lord but they are not committed. They are not obedient. You see, as you commit yourself to the Lord, then you realize the heart of the Lord. And when you delight yourself in the things that delight the heart of the God because you are committed to Him, then you can rejoice. You can rejoice because now the things that are important to God are important to you.
And you and God are working as a team and you are fulfilling that purpose for which you are made. But this morning there are some of you who have never committed your life to Christ. And the victorious life will not work unless you are totally committed.
You have to sell out. Commit yourself to the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. You are missing out, you are short changing yourself. Who do you think made you? Who do you think gave you the gifts and abilities you have? Some of the traits that you think are negative, God will use for positive, if you delight in Him.
And I want to beg you this morning to examine your heart and see if you have committed your way to the Lord. He is the one who made you. Job said your hands formed and shaped me. Everything about your basic personality traits was made by God. Some of you don't just feel like you do wrong, the tragedy is that you think you are wrong.
You see yourself as somebody who is not whole, somebody who is lacking, somebody who is not right, and somebody who always blows it. That is not how God made you to be. God wanted to create a person just like you that is why you are on this earth today. When God saved you, He wanted to create a person like you in the image of Christ. And I tell you today, if you commit your way to Him, if you trust in Him, if you sell out to Him, you will find that you see yourself in a whole different light.
Number two; examine your interests, what turns you on! Galatians 6:4 says each one should test or examine his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to somebody else. God doesn't want you to compare yourself to anybody. It is all right to have role models, but don't compare your success to their success.
Learn from them what you can, but don't compare. In the Christian life the Bible says it is a race, but it is a race where there is only one runner on the track as far as you are concerned. And do you know who wins? Those who finish the race. If you finish the race, if you don't give up, if you don't check out, you are a winner! And God will give you the desires of your heart.
What is the thing you like to do? What is the thing you are good at doing? What is the thing that gives you the most joy, most satisfaction in life? That is a clue to your image on why God made you.
Then number three, explore the possibilities. The writer of Proverbs said get the facts at any price. You do this by reading, you do this by talking to other people and what they do, you do this by identifying yourself with positive people who have the same gifts, the same abilities you do.
When you meet somebody and they have a common interest that you do, it is easy to get to know them; it is easy to strike up a conversation. You want to talk with them. Maybe you just met them but you feel close to them, so talk to people like that. Get all the facts; see yourself as God made you to be.
Then number four, when you find what God made you to be, when you find the thing that you get joy from and satisfaction from, there comes a point when you have to step out on faith. You have to get out of the boat like Simon Peter did to walk to Jesus because you realize it is safer on the water with Jesus than it is back in the safety of the boat without Jesus.
And by the way, you know there are people who say well I need to make a change in my life but I don't want to rock the boat. Friend, it doesn't hurt to rock the boat when Jesus is the captain of the ship, amen? Because He is going to take care of you and bring you through stormy weather and He will. So step out in faith.
Look at Joshua 1:9. God says to Joshua who took over the leadership of Israel from Moses, "Be bold and strong, banish fear and doubt. For remember the Lord is with you wherever you go." Listen; there are three things that fear does.
Did you know that fear is to heart is to the inner-man what cholesterol is to the physical body. Fear clogs up the arteries. It keeps the power from flowing. Medicine teaches that in order for all of our organs to function, the blood must flow through the arteries and veins. And when they get stopped up, it chocks off the flow.
And fear of stepping out in faith will stop the flow of God in your life. You have to move toward your fear. You have to move ahead in side your fear. God said, don't be afraid Joshua, be bold, be courageous. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is moving ahead with God in spite of your fears.
Peter was afraid when he stepped out on the water, but he walked on the water to Jesus because he moved against his fear of the storm. And he kept his eyes on Jesus Christ. And it is so sad for people to have a dream, to have ambition, that God put in their heart, that God gave them, abilities and talents that God gave them and to live and die and never see that dream fulfilled.
Fear does three things. Number one; there is the fear of ridicule. What will people think if I try this, what will people think if I step out, what will people think of me, they will think I have lost my mind. So we allow the doubt of others. When I surrendered to the ministry, I was voted the most likely to fail in the ministry. And I am not saying that I am a success, only Jesus is a success, I am not a success.
But God gave me a passion, God gave me a desire, God gave me a heart for the ministry of the gospel. And I don't ever get tired of the ministry. I get tired in the ministry. I don't get tired of the ministry. But I had to move against that ridicule. My boss, where I was working told me that I was just emotional. That I ought to reconsider, that I shouldn't leave that work, I should stay where I was. So you have to move in spite of ridicule.
Then fear also brings the fear of failure. What if it doesn't work out? What if I am not successful? You won't be successful in every thing when you follow your heart's desire. Because success is not only made up of good decisions, it is made up of bad decisions. It takes good decisions and bad decisions to give you experiences that you have to have to be a success.
Edmund Cook said, what is success? He says sometimes it is failure. When the spirit in you rises up to fight. He said if you have never failed it is an easy guess that you will never be a big success. Success many times is failure plus failure plus failure plus failure equals success.
Don't be discouraged if you are following your heart's desire. Don't let the fear of failure keep you from being what God wants you to be. Listen you are going to have failures, you are going to be knocked down. But Jesus Christ says you are a winner. You get up and you learn. You move ahead in the power of God.
Then number three; fear of the unknown, just not knowing. There comes a point when you have to step out and you can't see any further than the headlights of your car on a dark night and you just have to keep moving toward the darkness, moving toward the unknown, moving toward the newest.
It is so easy to say I am comfortable here. I don't like my life, but at least I am secure in it. And at least I know what to expect. I am not really following my heart, I am not achieving those goals and those dreams but at least I know I have a sure thing.
And so many people never become what God wants them to be because there comes a time when you just have to leave the nest as Peter, James, John, and Andrew did. And you have to follow Jesus. And when you do that, it improves your self-image because you begin to see how God takes care of His own. And how God can use you in a unique way, in a special way for His honor and for His glory.
So step out in faith. Look at the Bible. Philippians 2:13 says, "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His purpose." Just remember it is not you who is dependent on success, it is God. And when you accept Jesus, when you commit your self to the Lord, He gives you the desires of your heart.
As your desires become His desires because it is God who is at work in you. He is energizing you, He is creating you. You see, when God gives you a desire, when God gives you a longing, when God gives you an ambition, when God gives you a dream, when God gives you an aspiration, God also gives you the power to carry it out.
Today it may look as though it is impossible, the circumstances may be negative not positive, but don't lose your passion, don't lose your dreams. Delight yourself in the Lord. You are a winner. God made you the way you are. We are going to be talking in the messages to come, don't miss them. Next time, we are going to be talking about your make up. Then we are going to talk about the abilities that God gave you and how to use them.
Then we will talk about your gifts, supernatural abilities that God gave you. Then we are going to talk about how God uses even the bad experiences of life. We are going to be talking about the image of God in you and how you can have the greatest joy in life by becoming that person God made you to be.
Let's bow together for prayer. Commit your way unto the Lord. Delight in the Lord; commit your way to Him. It is time for some of you to step out in faith. How many of you this morning made a decision, maybe you walked an aisle, maybe you joined the church but you never really committed yourself to Christ.
You don't have that personal walk with Him this morning. He is not your foundation; you are not living life with that passion. I am going to challenge you right now to exercise faith in Him. The Bible says you have to believe in Him with all your heart and confess Him with your lips. And Jesus is waiting to come into your heart.