Sunday, July 18, 2010
Desire - by Matthew Teoh
Life is all about desire. And desire is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a passion that drives us towards a purpose. Life is full of wants, wishes, and cravings. Money, food, physical pleasure, studying, good grades, success (for ourselves and our children), girlfriends/boyfriends, technological gadgets, branded clothes, watching TV, Korean dramas, Facebook, MSN, respect, and love are just a few things humans enjoy and desire. It is not wrong to want or enjoy these things. But when we desire these things beyond what God intended (outside the boundaries set by God, basing our identity on them, obtaining them at the cost of people, etc.), we want unhealthily more than is necessary.
While reading the first chapter of James, I was struck by verse 16, which says: “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers.” I spent some time reflecting. The verses prior talk about desire, temptation, and sin resulting in death. The verses after speak of God’s good and perfect gifts. I think that James was warning his readers to not be deceived by their sinful desires, because God is much better.
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:16-17
Because we were born into this world, we were born with its desires. Yet, we who have been born again should no longer crave earthly things because the “old has gone” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We know that the desires of the flesh and desire of the Spirit are in conflict. Thus, if we choose to live by the Spirit, we will not live according to the flesh. Desire becomes dangerous when our eyes are affixed on worldly things.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
On the other hand, when our eyes are fixed on God, the things of earth grow strangely dim. And it is peculiar because it is natural for humans to crave earthly things! However, we shouldn’t be trying to stifle our worldly desires because we no longer live for ourselves (Galatians 2:20). Our cravings for worldly pleasures will fade away when we long for something greater: God. Do our souls thirst for the living God (Psalms 42:2)? Is our delight in the law of the Lord (Psalms 1:2)? Are we experiencing His joy (Psalms 28:7)?
Being God-centered is not about giving up my “Facebook” or “TV” time to read the Bible. It is about desiring God and His Word so much that Facebook and watching TV becomes secondary (it doesn’t mean that using Facebook is a sin). It isn’t about us sacrificing our stuff for God. It is when our yearning for God becomes so great and overpowering that there is nothing else we desire but Him! Don’t be deceived by earthly pleasures. If you don’t desire to live by the Spirit, you may be willfully choosing to live by the flesh. If your mind isn’t being filled with scripture and Godly things, what are you filling it with? If you don’t desire God, then what are you desiring?
I earnestly pray that God will fill us all with an overwhelming and irresistible desire for Him, a soulful longing and incredible hunger for His Word, and an intense, fervent, and zealous passion for His glory.
Matthew Teoh is with Powerhouse+, HPC's Youth ministry