If you are human, then you know her. She calls out to us every day and we check in with her before every decision we make.
She causes destruction, pain, regret and provides no long-term satisfaction. Yet, without her we have no motivation, no inspiration, no purpose. We can have her completely figured out one moment, but find her utterly confusing the next. Her name is Desire, and she is absolutely essential to human nature. Desire appears to play a part in every situation of life. Every decision we make is based on what it is that we presently desire. Sometimes we make choices based on what we will desire in the future, others are focused on what we desire in the present moment. Sometimes we make an altruistic decision and do something based on what someone else desires, where the desire to help someone else still exists. Either way you look at it, there is no running from desire.
The Buddhist approach to desire is to eliminate it. The Buddhist monk dedicates his life to consistent zen meditation with the hopes of eradicating desire. However, this desire to eliminate desire, is of course, a desire.
Rather than attempt to live a life free from desire, we must embrace her. She is a good thing. She is a natural part of the human psyche for a reason. To live the full human experience we must not ignore desire, but learn to tame her. Desire is only a problem if wisdom isn’t present to guide her. There is an intriguing promise in the Bible that speaks to desire. It’s found in Psalm 37:4,
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV)
The first time I read this verse, my initial response was “Wait, what?! God will give me whatever I want?!?” Obviously this would be an immature interpretation of the text. The key to understanding this verse is by recognizing the first command – Take delight in the Lord. I believe this means more than merely allowing Jesus to make you happy – although this of course is a good thing. Rather, I think it’s more telling us to surrender our hearts to Jesus. We are called to make him our delight. When we can get to the spiritual maturity where Jesus is our delight, where it delights us to please the King, where the decisions we make are based upon what honors him and is beneficial to His Kingdom, then He will give us the desires of our heart.
It’s all about the process of aligning our hearts with God’s heart. We are very aware of when our desires are in opposition to His desires. We can play dumb all we want, but when push comes to shove we know what he wants from us. It coincides very well with Romans 8… (Read it)
It’s all about perspective change. It’s much more powerful than positive thinking. It’s the beautiful paradigm shift followed by a biblical worldview. I’m not saying it’s always easy to live this Spirit-filled lifestyle, but it is attainable and it only takes a little extra discipline and effort. My prayer is that we all would find motivation and excitement in Jesus. I will never understand why Christianity can be perceived as “corny”. Logically, I don’t get it. I will never be ashamed of being a royal son of the Everlasting King who is the Fiery Author of Life with the Mind to Create everything that exists. I will never be ashamed to boldly offer my life to the One who gave up everything to make sure we could attain anything. Never should we be ashamed to live a passionate life full of purpose and love because we are so aware of the authentic Love that the Creator of the Universe has for us. I will never allow a place for shame in my life and I hope Christians never allow themselves to feel it because we are the strongest people on this planet. We have already won, so why be afraid of loss? Why be afraid of death when we are already dead to our old life and alive in the new?
I digress, but all this is to say…
Be in tune with your desires, and keep your delight fixed on Jesus. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
The cold air cut against his face. Every part of his body was frozen. But the fiery furnace in his heart kept his whole body warm. This passion, this aggression, this purpose, seemed to allow his body to move in swift mobility. Although his troops retreated, he stood firmly planted. With a battle cry he charged forward with explosive eyes and a sword frozen to his hand. He couldnt stop killing, even if he wanted to. He had become one with the sword. On this day, one man, Eleazar, defeated an entire Philistine army.
This story is found in 2 Samuel 23:9-10. I bet they didnt tell you that story in Sunday school, did they? In fact, I'm almost certain that none of you reading this has ever even heard about Eleazar. I know I never have. As I was reading the account of "David's Mighty Warriors" in 2 Samuel 23, this short passage jumped out at me. God actually taught me a valuable lesson through a verse that often goes overlooked. This is how the verse reads:
"Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead." (NIV)
So what does this story have to do with us? Everything. When I read this story, it reminds me of our duty as Christians. There is an ongoing warfare between Good and Evil, and as Christians, we were born-again right in the middle of it. As we fight for good, it can feel like everything is against us. There has definitely been moments that I felt completely outnumbered by the darkness. I'll never forget walking through Vegas one night and feeling overwhelmed by the darkness that I saw. On the streets of Vegas, I was face to face with sin, depression, sex-slavery, and oppression. But in the times where we feel outnumbered like Eleazar clearly was, we need to cling to our weapon of choice. We need to be so devoted to obliterating sin and darkness that our sword freezes to our hands.
So what is our sword? The Bible. Ephesians 6:17 calls us to take up the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". Also in Hebrews 4:12 the author writes, "The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword" Yet again in Revelation 19:15, a sword is coming out of Jesus' mouth which can easily symbolize the Word of God. The Word of God is our spiritual firearm. We must embrace the sacred text of Truth and allow it to transform our lives.
It concerns me with how many Christians struggle to read the Bible. Once we understand that the Bible is historically accurate and reliable, there should be a passion that stirs in us and causes us to read it with the hope that its words are true. When we realize that its words are true, we then can read it with expectation that God will do what he promises in his chosen text. The promises he makes in this massive love letter are unbelievable. One of my favorite promises that helps me get through every day is Romans 8:28, "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Once it finally clicks in our minds that God is a loving Father, who only wishes to bless his children with abundant life (John 10:10) then it gives us the confidence to surrender our entire lives to our Creator. He knows best and the dreams he has for us far outweigh anything we can dream of.
We can't expect to live our daily lives filled with this purpose if we aren't reading our word. Not only is the word our spiritual weapon, but it is also our fuel. We need to consume Truth every day because there is an army that is trying to steal your joy and your hope, all with the intention of discouraging you so that you don't walk in the powerful destiny that God has planned for your life. Remain in the Word. Remain in God's Truth. Allow the sword to freeze to your hand.