I often question my motives. Why do I do the things I do? Whether helpful or harmful, it seems that all my behaviours can be linked back to me doing something that I desire to do and makes me feel good. This bothers me, but as I read Scripture, I can see that this is not a new conundrum. Wrong desire led to the fall of humankind. Desire is spoken of in the Psalms and Prophets, and Paul wrestles with this in his letters. Other religions do too! The Buddhist faith says all suffering is caused by desire (good or bad), and so to end suffering, one must remove all desire, to become empty. But God designed us to be full of life, not empty!
In Desiring the Kingdom, James K. Smith suggests desire is an integral part of who we are, and that it is not whether we act out of desire, but which desires we act out of. Therefore, rather than get rid of desire, we should actively shape what we desire!
Psalm 37 says “delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart”. If we immerse ourselves in knowing God and His will, then our desires will more and more reflect God’s desires. In Romans, Paul says that it is our desires that drive our behaviour and encourages us to choose to gratify the desires of the Spirit, not of the sinful nature.
Our challenge is not to feel bad about acting out of the things we desire, it is to make sure that the things we do desire truly reflect the desires of God’s heart and that we respond to those ones that bring life, not to the ones that bring harm.
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