The Christian and Desire
What Does the Bible Say?
, by Jessica Granger
One day, I was laying on my bed feeling discouraged and lonely. I missed people, feelings, and experiences I’d had in the past. I wanted them back. But then I felt a prompting: what if each of these desires is meant to point me back to God? What if God wants to satisfy my longings in a much deeper way than I am imagining? Could He be meaning to fulfil my desires to an extent only found in Himself?
It reminded me of this quote:
‘It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.’ C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses“
Sometimes we may have the idea that desire is wrong. We associate it with lust or evil passions, and conclude that surrender to God means giving up feeling. But what does the Bible say?
“Thou openest thine hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.” Psalm 145:16 & 19
“Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.” Psalm 21:2
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4
God knows our heart’s desires and loves to fulfil them! But what kind of desires is this about? In context, David was talking about salvation and God’s goodness. We see this consistently throughout the Bible:
“The desire of the righteous is only good…the desire of the righteous shall be granted.” Proverbs 11:23 - 24
“One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
“Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” Psalm 73:25
God fulfils good desires. But more than that, it is a longing for Himself that the Bible is specifically referring to. And He promises to satisfy! Interestingly, Haggai shares a prophecy of the coming Messiah:
“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:7
Jesus is described as the desire of all nations, the absolute fulfilment of each of our deepest longings.
Though we are sinful fallen beings, God has planted in us a desire for goodness and life. People may not know Christ, and yet they love serving others, aspire to be kind, and seek for peace and justice. We all want a rich and satisfying experience. But what truly fills that urge in each of us?
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6
Jesus literally says: I am life. All longings for a full satisfying existence are fulfilled in Him. He even adds to this promise:
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, kill, and destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
What if each desire points to an area of life where we need Jesus? Where we need His fullness to invade that part of us – whether it’s thoughts or affections or experience? Could more of God be the answer to everything?
The abundant life we crave is found in Him, only Him. And when our longings and desires point us back to the Source of all satisfaction, and we long to have Him fill us, we can be assured that He will.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Or in the language we have been using:
“…they had sworn with all their heart, and sought Him with their whole desire; and He was found of them: and the Lord gave them rest…” 2 Chronicles 15:15
The Israelites sought the Lord with their whole desire, and He was found of them. May the same be said of us.