What are God’s desires for us?

It’s a question that millions of people have asked over the centuries. Some people have gone on epic quests, scaling mountains or traversing deserts, in an effort to figure out what God desires of them. Many false religions have been founded by people claiming to know what God really wants people to do.

It’s understandable to want to know what God’s desires are. After all, when we know what God wants, it gives us more of a sense of His plan for our lives. We know what sorts of things we should be pursuing.

The good news is that you don’t need to head into the desert in search of some sort of mystical revelation from God. The Bible makes it very clear what God wants of us.

In this article, we’re going to see what God’s word has to say about God’s desires.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Helpful Infographic Resource About God's Desires for You

Use this visual guide as a reminder or study guide to discover God's desires for you.

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God Desires Us To Know Him

First and foremost, God’s desire is that we would know Him. Not just know about Him, in the same way we know about science or mathematics. God wants us to know Him personally and intimately.

Throughout the Bible, we see God drawing near to people again and again. He revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and the people of Israel.

He made a way for them to fellowship with God and have a close relationship with Him. In the greatest revelation of all, God sent Jesus to show us what He is like.

In John 14:9-11, Jesus said:

He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

Why does God reveal Himself to us? So that we would know who God is and what He is like. We can learn some things about God from creation, like that He is powerful, creative, and mighty. But we can’t know that God is loving or holy or full of mercy. He must show these things to us.

Because He loves us and wants us to have a relationship with Him, God reveals Himself to us. Each of us was created to know God and we won’t be satisfied apart from Him. Knowing God is the greatest, most wonderful, most joyful thing.

In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus spoke of the great value of knowing God:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

God is the treasure hidden in a field and the pearl of great price. Nothing compares to knowing Him. He is worth more than anything this life has to offer. God desires that each of us should know Him.

Relevant Resource on Knowing God

What Is God’s Plan For Me?

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God Desires Us to Worship and Love Him

It’s not enough just to know God, although that is certainly essential. God also wants us to worship and love Him. In fact, the Bible says that if we know God but don’t worship and love Him, we’re no better than the demons.

James 2:19 puts it this way,

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!”

The demons have no doubt that God is real, but they certainly don’t love God. Our knowledge of God must be accompanied by affection for God.

In Deuteronomy 6:4-5 we read, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

When we love God with all our heart, soul, and strength, everything else falls into place. We obey His commands and seek to love others.

What is worship? It’s common to think that worship is singing songs and hymns in church, and this is certainly part of worship. But true worship goes far beyond music. Worship encompasses all of life.

In many ways, worship and love are the same thing. To worship God is to love God, and vice versa. When we worship God, we love Him more than anything else. We give Him our time and energy and desires. We pursue Him and seek to know Him more.

If someone loves sports, they make a concerted effort to watch games and read articles about their favorite teams. If someone loves food, they make time to go to restaurants and don’t begrudge the money they must spend.

The simple truth is that our actions reveal what we love and worship. If we love and worship God, we’ll want to spend time with Him by reading the Bible and praying. We’ll want to obey Him, not out of obligation but out of a heart filled with affection for Him.

God desires that we should love and worship Him with all our hearts.

Helpful Resource on Worship

What Is Worship According To The Bible?

What is worship to you? The reality is that worship is more than just music. If we want to honor God, we need to understand the nature of true worship.

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God Desires That We Put Him First

When we deeply love God and are committed to worshiping Him above everything else, then we naturally put Him first. Throughout our lives, we’ll be tempted to put other things before God. Things like:

  • Career
  • Money
  • Relationships
  • Hobbies
  • Pleasure
  • Power
  • Possessions
  • Retirement
  • And many other things

When we put something above God, we’re saying that thing is more valuable than God. That it’s better than God and more worthy of our affections. This is insulting to God and devalues Him.

To be clear, it’s not wrong to enjoy the good gifts God has given us. Friends and hobbies and even finances are blessings from God. The problem is when we put those things ahead of God.

Pastor Adrian Rogers says this:

"Are you seeking for Christ with all your heart? James 1:8 says, "He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." The word for double‑minded literally means "two souls." Here's a person trying to face both ways at the same time. Trying to live with one foot in the church and one in the world. They’ve got just enough of the world in them that they can't be happy in church and just enough Christ in them they can't be happy in the world. They’ve become a spiritual schizophrenic, a two-soul person. We are to love the Lord with all our heart."

How can you tell if you’re not putting God first? If you’re willing to disobey God in order to get something, then you’re not putting God first. For example, if you’re okay with lying in order to advance your career, then you’ve clearly prioritized your career over God. If you cheat on your taxes in order to improve your financial status, you’ve put money ahead of God.

Speaking of the temptation to love money more than God, Jesus said:

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24).

This principle applies to every area of our lives. We can’t serve two masters. Either God is our first priority or something else is. God’s desire for us is that we would put Him in the position of first importance in our lives.

Helpful Resource on Priorities

How To Put God First In Everything

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God Desires Us to Obey His Commandments

We demonstrate our love for God and commitment to putting Him first by obeying His commandments.

In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

In John 14:23-24, Jesus said:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

There is a clear connection between love for God and obedience to Him. If we love the Lord, we’ll do the things that please Him. We won’t obey Him perfectly, but we’ll strive nonetheless to honor God with our lives.

If we don’t obey God, it shows that we don’t love Him. The parent-child relationship can be a helpful illustration here. If a child loves his parent, he’ll make an effort to do what the parent asks. If the child constantly refuses to obey, it shows that he doesn’t care about his parent at all.

We find the commandments of God in the Bible. Now, to be clear, the Bible isn’t simply a list of commands that we must obey. No, the Bible is ultimately about God Himself, and in it we learn the wonderful saving truths of the gospel. But in the revelation of who God is, we also learn what He desires.

God’s commands are for our good. When we obey God, we experience life as God intended it. Blessing from God follows obedience to God.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

"What is the blessing of obedience? Intimacy with God. You will come to know things that you could never know any other way when you become intimate with God. And yet people are still asking, “How do I understand the Bible?” Friend, you will have a knowledge that surpasses anything you could gain from a school of learning when you serve the Lord in obedience."

The more we obey God, the more we come to know God and the more joy we receive from God.

1 John 5:2-3 says,

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

God’s commands are not a heavy, overwhelming burden. Rather, they are the way to freedom. The Holy Spirit dwells within us, giving us the power to honor God by the way we live.

Psalm 119:12-16 says,

“Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”

The Psalmist knew that the commands of God are incredibly precious, worth more than all the riches in the world. And so He asked God to teach him the way of obedience. He committed himself to meditate on the ways of God so that he could more effectively obey God.

God desires that we would please Him by seeking to obey His commands.

Helpful Resources on God's Commandments

What Are God’s Commandments?

What are God’s commandments and how can we know them? To answer this question we must look at what the Bible says about what God desires for us.

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God Desires Us to Love Others

In addition to loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength, God desires that we would love others as we love ourselves.

Jesus is saying that all of God’s commands can be summed up in terms of loving God and loving others.

In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

When we love others, we show the world that we are followers of Christ. There is a distinct absence of love in the world and an abundance of hatred, anger, and division. Love for others sets us apart from those who don’t know Christ.

In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love is the great mark of Christians. If we don’t have love, then we’re really not much different than the rest of the world, no matter how great our spiritual gifts or talents. Even our good deeds are worthless if they’re not accompanied by love.

In 1 Corinthians 13:3, Paul wrote, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

If we want to please and honor God, we must seek to love others with the same love that we have for ourselves.

Helpful Resources on a Christian Life

What Is The Essence Of The Christian Life?

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God Has A Plan For You

You may not know exactly what the future holds, but you can be confident that God has a plan for you. Don’t overly focus on trying to figure out what will come your way. Instead, give your time and energy to seeking to know, love, worship, and obey God. Focus on trying to love God with all your heart and love others as well.

The more time you spend reading God’s word and praying about it, the more you’ll understand God’s will for your life.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

"Do you want to know God’s will? Then here’s your test: How much time do you spend in God’s Word? Do you think God really believes you when you say “I want to know the will of God,” but you don’t read the one book above all books that God has specifically written to show you His will, to reveal His will to you, to unfold His will to you? Romans 12:2 tells us, 'And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.'"

Be like the Psalmist in Psalm 119. Ask God to help you understand God’s desires and commands.

Ask Him to give you the power to obey and the strength to follow Him every single day.

If you become aware that there is something you’re putting ahead of God, ask for God’s forgiveness and seek to put Him first, above all things.

God has a good plan for your life. Seek after God with all your heart and God will make His ways clear to you.

Helpful Tools and Resources on God's Desires

What Is The Essence Of The Christian Life?

Everyone has a different answer, but what does God say about a Christian life? That’s what matters most. To answer that question we need to look to the Bible.

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Everything you need to know about how to be a Christian is found in the Bible. God isn’t hiding anything from you. In fact, He wants you to know Him!

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