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Desperation (Psalm 119:20)

My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times.
Psalm 119:20

What do you desire more than any other thing? What is it that your heart aches for and cries out for?  Sadly, we could probably put a list of things together that might fall into this category, but oftentimes a longing for God’s word is not at the top of the list—if it even makes the list.

Have you ever seen a child who decides that he wants something from his parents? He may have been a difficult child during the course of the day. But when there is something that he wants—and in order to fulfill his wants he needs his parents—then things can change dramatically.

All of a sudden this child can go from being rather difficult to amazingly kind. He actually clears off the table or takes out the trash, without being asked and without complaint. It is rather shocking. And then comes the question: Can I watch a certain television show, or get a specific toy, or go out with friends, or …?

Now you realize that there was a motive behind all of this “kindness.” Well, it wasn’t legitimate kindness; it was more like manipulation. It was an effort to get his way.

For many, Christianity looks very similar. When we especially want God’s blessing or God’s wisdom, we start spending time in God’s word. When we want Him to get us or someone we love out of a particular circumstance, we adjust our spiritual priorities and begin to do things we think will please God. Our ultimate objective is not actually to please God; it is really to convince God to accommodate our desires.

The psalmist is not like this.  He has an overwhelming desire for God’s word. It is not a passing desire; rather it is unending. This is clearly born out of an understanding of the eternal value of God’s word. The psalmist is a desperate man, recognizing his need for God’s wisdom and desiring to honor God.

Spurgeon reminds us to “Note well that our desire after the mind of God should be constant; we should feel holy longings ‘at all times.’ Desires which can be put off and on like our garments are at best but mere wishes, and possibly they are hardly true enough to be called by that name—they are temporary emotions born of excitement, and doomed to die when the heat which created them has cooled down. He who always longs to know and do the right is the truly right man. His judgment is sound, for he loves all God’s judgments, and follows them with constancy.”1

1Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The Treasury of David: Psalms 111-119 (Vol. 5, p. 173). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

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Rocky Wyatt

Rocky Wyatt came to know the Lord as a young teenager and began working in youth ministry when in college. After serving in churches in Utah, California and Colorado, Rocky moved to Texas to serve as Youth Pastor at Countryside Bible Church. He served there for 26 years where he eventually moved from youth ministry to serve as an Associate Pastor.

Over the course of his ministry, Rocky has always had a desire to train men for pastoral ministry in the context of the local church. In 1992 he started XL Ministries, an organization that is committed to helping churches establish intensive internships for pastoral training. In 2020 he left his position at Countryside Bible Church to become the Executive Director of XL Ministries and now works full time assisting churches in training men for ministry.

He is co-author of The Youth Ministry Training Manual, a textbook for training youth pastors, and has also written multiple other resources for use in various local church ministries. He is currently working on a book to encourage churches to take the primary responsibility to train pastors.

Rocky is married to Pamela, has two sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.1 Corinthians 15:58