“Human nature, if it is healthy, demands excitement. And if it does not obtain its thrilling excitement in the right way, it will seek it in the wrong. God never made bloodless stoics; He makes passionate saints.” Oswald Chambers
What do you want? What do you really, really want?
My dreams at night tend to run along one of several main themes. The most frequent theme is the “I lost something and am frantically looking for it” dream. All night, it seems, I run late. My lateness will have dire consequences like disappointing or inconveniencing someone. I dash around tearing things apart trying to remember how to find the thing I’m looking for. It doesn’t seem to matter much what I’m looking for. The important thing is to find it. My daily life might not, unfortunately, be so different from my dreaming life.
What are you looking for?
God’s way is free instead of frantic. Trevor Hudson points out that Jesus’s first recorded question is “What are you looking for?” It is the question he asked Andrew and one other disciple when they first started tagging along behind him. They wanted something. Jesus’ question both validated their desire and helped them think about what they really wanted. They wanted to get to know the man that John the Baptist said was so special, but when he asked them what they were looking for, they blurted out something much less. “Where are you staying?” Jesus offered to show them. He generously invited them to indulge the desire to find out about him, spend time with him. The courage they demonstrated by owning their desires was the beginning of adventures that far exceeded their wildest imaginings.
I remember hearing sermons about evil desires and selfish desires when I was young. I don’t remember hearing about Godly desires or God-given desires.
I wouldn’t have imagined Jesus turning to me and asking “What are you looking for?” because I felt embarrassed to be looking for anything at all. I had the mistaken idea that all desires are evil desires, so I tried not to feel too much. That idea did not come from the Bible. Buddhism teaches people to live without desire. True Christianity does not.
Psalm 37:4 promises that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our hearts. I used to assume that the promise meant that God would fulfill our desires. Thinking about it now, that makes no sense if desires are bad. Why would God fulfill bad desires? If the people who delight in God have no desires what exactly would God be promising to do for them? I believe the Bible teaches that God will fulfill our desires. Even better, he also plants the best desires in our hearts. Embracing our desires is important, maybe even integral to being a Christian. Desire is the core of hope.
Hope: to cherish a desire with anticipation (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
Hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had. (Dictionary.com)
I have met people who have lost hope, but I have never met anyone who is opposed to hope as a matter of principle. Everyone agrees that hope is good. Hope begins with desire. No one hopes without first wanting something.
God always does what he wants to do
God has many desires. Not only that, God indulges his desires. Always. Like a small child God does exactly what he wants to do all the time. See Ps 115:3, Daniel 4:35, Job 23:13 This, of course, makes sense because God could never want something that is not good or even something that is less than the best.
What if I did what I want to do?
My desires are messier than God’s. I have competing desires. I want to be thin and fit. I also want Moose Tracks ice cream and chocolate.
“The only way to overcome our lower passions is to glut our higher ones.” Dwight Edwards
Which one is my highest desire? If I am most aware of my desire to take good care of the only body I have, I will keep my ice cream indulgence in its proper proportion. My other desires begin to sort themselves out too when I dig down. God gave me a deep desire to be loved and to love in return. When I became a Christian he refined that desire. Now my highest, strongest, deepest desire is to know how deep God’s love for me goes and to love him back with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. If you have entrusted yourself to him, your desires are like mine. The caution I felt about my desires, and my attempts to not want anything were misguided. I don’t have to try to want less. After I tap into my deepest desire everything else falls into its proper place.
What are you looking for?