Managing the Desires of Our Hearts


1. Unbridled Desires In The Garden of Eden (Gen 3:6)

Since the beginning of time uncontrolled desires have plagued mankind.  They fell prey to it in the Garden.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

2. God’s Punishment Of Eve Through Her Desires (Gen 3:16)

In Genesis 3:16 God mandated that Eve’s desire would be for her husband and he would rule over her.  This cycle continues today when we are unable to control our own desires, God will often place us in an environment where someone or something else must “rule” over us (prison, detention, enslavement, etc)

To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

3. The Evil Thoughts of Man’s Heart (Genesis 6:5-8)

When the desires of man’s heart had become continually wicked, God was sorry He created us and had it not been for Noah, would have wiped us all out!

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

4.  Evil Desires (Lust) Is The Key Contributor In The Conception Of Sin (James 1:13-15)

James relates the cyclic nature of sin and evil desires to the natural reproductive cycle of conception.  In order for sin to be conceived there must be two willing partners “temptation” and “lust” or evil desires.  From this dangerous union sin is born, which will grow up and give birth to death.  Temptations are always present and we often have very little control over them.  However, we do have control over our evil desires.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

5. Pray for Earnest Desires (1 Chronicles 29:17-19)

Even as David realized, desires within themselves are not a bad thing.  God give us the ability to dream and imagine and desire things because that is what keeps us moving forward.  However, when these things are not tempered with God’s Commandments they will become distorted.  David’s desire was to build a house for God but he was forbidden to do so because of things in his past.  However, David did understand the need to pray that his Son Solomon and the people would retain the right desires in their hearts.

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.”

6. Delighting Ourselves In God’s Laws Will help Maintain Wholesome Desires (Psalm 37:4)

God has given us a very simply formula to keep our desires under control.  Psalms 37:4 says to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our heart.  Sometimes this scripture is taken out of context to mean that God will simply give us everything our little hearts desire.  That is not the complete meaning.  In contrast, if we seek Him and His righteousness, He will implant the right desires in our heart!

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

7.  Desires Can Be Controlled By What You Worship (Matthew 4:8-11)

Even Jesus himself had to apply desire management in his life.  Satan realized that Jesus came to redeem the world.  So, similar to the tactics he used in the Garden with Eve, Satan tried to appeal to Jesus’ desires by offering him the kingdoms of the world. However, the reply Jesus gave was quite prolific and serves as a great example for us today… Worship the Lord and serve him only.  If you are not sure about where your desires are, examine what you worship.  An if you are unsure about what you are worshiping look at what is inhabiting your environment.  Notice,  after Jesus made that statement “the devil left him”.   We are typically in fellowship with what we worship.  If you want something to leave… don’t worship it!

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.


 Listen to this teaching session delivered by Larry Watlington