We are beings designed by God both from desire and for desire. It is futile to try to rid ourselves of desire. In order for wrong and counterproductive desires to lose their grip on our hearts, minds, emotions and ways, they must be displaced by right and healthy desires, not simply denied. Indeed, we must say "no" to sinful desires, which is easier to do when we see their fallout in our lives and relationships. But we must, in turn, say "YES" to better desires. This above verse implies two things. First, that as we become focused on discovering how delightful God truly is, then He promises to weed out the old desires of a self-centered life and plant new desires within us. I call them golden desires. Second, God literally longs and promises to fulfill the desires that His Spirit establishes within our hearts that cause us to live and walk in the rhythms of peace and joy in Christ. So, to "adore" God as a preoccupation is what inevitably leads us to "a door" of living a life of wholehearted satisfaction and joy...even in the midst of a world that is yet weighed down with much pain and perplexity. To adore is to a door! Through this maturing process, we become a vital part of very real and practical divine solutions to human dilemmas.
The first time I heard God speak to me (in a way that I was aware), was when I was 16. I was a confused young man with conflicting powerful desires raging within me and vying for ascendency. I had evolved into a pseudo-intellectual, hippie, jock - an admittedly very strange combination of forces! I was trying on various masks and personas out of the deep insecurity of not knowing who I really was or was called to be. I was not consciously searching for God, though I can now see how the Holy Spirit had been preparing me throughout my childhood to offer my life back to our Heavenly Father.
I deeply resonate with what the great French philosopher Pascal said, "There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus” When I heard God's voice, I knew it was Him and that I wasn't "okay" on a very deep level...and it scared me. But rather than responding to His invitation to soften my heart and receive what He was offering me, I ran away determined to make myself more presentable to Him someday.
After 2 years, I ran out of energy to resist and I prayed (from a level within my soul that I had never before known even existed), "I give up, You got me." On the spot, I had an undeniable encounter with Jesus Christ that was beyond this world. One of the main things that transpired in that moment was that I intuitively understood that the many powerful desires...warring within me...that had intimidated me and beat me up, were going to be subdued and trumped by a brand new set of even more powerful desires that were attuned to the heart, mind and will of God. This is how the "Golden Desires" get first place in us and recast/reorder all other human desires.
When Jesus literally "came into my heart", He calmed the raging storm of my lust to live in lies any longer and I instantly knew that God Himself has superior desires, longings, yearnings, jealousy and passion than I could ever imagine or manufacture on my own. And...I also soon discovered that the first thing that He was jealously yearning to possess was me...just as I was. He said He loved me and actually wanted me and that He wanted me to want Him back out of wonder and gratitude. So, my first prayers after this were, "Wow!" and "Thank You!". (By the way, those prayers really work!) Oh yes...He wants us all, every human being, in the same way too.
I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. Ezekiel 36:27
Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure. Philippians 2:13 The Message
We will not be able to live as "wholehearted" people...wise...and yet...childlike, vulnerable and free, unless we are able to get this matter of desire sorted out more clearly in our lives. To live without desire at the heart of our life-engine is to live a heavy, taxing, futile and grueling existence. How different this kind of life is from what Jesus promised us - "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10b) Still, it's obvious that desires, easily recognized from a distance as counter-productive to abundant life, must be somehow negated. Maybe this sorting out process can be pictured as similar to how miners used to pan for gold. They had to sift out the more lightweight mud, rocks and "fools gold" under rushing water that, given some time and shaking, would simply reveal any heavier weighted gold nuggets that would remain in their pans. As we pursue a spiritual life in Christ, we must realize that we are not after the eradication of desire, but the discovery, elevation and proper placement of the most valuable and satisfying desires possible...Golden Desires, if you will. Too often, the self-denial associated with religion seems to be self-denial for its own sake. But the self-denial promoted by Jesus and His apostles is always vitally linked to an appeal to an even more desirable form of self-fulfillment through knowing and loving God. May we allow the Holy Spirit to sift through the whole range of our desires and make way for the deepest, truest and most valuable ones to win out in our lives. The scriptures reveal that connecting with God Himself meets the deepest need and desire...the hunger and thirst...of the human spirit. “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:6-7) This is nothing less than an ancient prophecy that foretold the coming of Christ...the Desire of All Nations...into the world and how the hearts of people from every nation would, and will yet, be wooed and drawn to His incomparable beauty.
Desires of the human heart have always been a favorite subject of classic stories, movies, plays, poems, myths and fables. We all intuitively know the power of desire from the time we are born into this world. We also know how our desires can get us into trouble in life. Because of this, in Buddhism, desire is often portrayed as the great root evil in the world and therefore, the height of such a spirituality is to rid oneself of desire altogether. The Bible also warns us in many places of the problems caused in the world by our human desires running amok and independently from God's influence. Yet still, in biblical spirituality, God is seen to be full of desire Himself and we are made in His image. Therefore, we are beings of desire through the wonder of being His creation and desire is not something to be rid of. Rather, it is something that God ultimately intends to abundantly satisfy as the four passages below confirm:
You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. Psalm 145:16
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7
Indeed, God is "the God of our heart's desires". The implication of this simple thought is that we obviously are often confused and conflicted about what we really need and want and we therefore adopt inferior desires that compete with deeper and more noble ones. We actually need our Heavenly Father to reveal to us what we really need and want. And as those desires rise up to have dominion in our lives, it is those desires that He promises to fulfill. Going through this sorting out process is the essence of what it means to grow in Christ and live in the Holy Spirit.
A VOICE OF HOPE
Michael Sullivant's Blog
I am a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, spiritual father, author, speaker and hope coach.