At their core, your desires are not the problem. They’re a gift, pointing to a good, God-given desire. And this is true even if the desire you’re feeling is for something sinful.
Usually when I go on a dinner date with my wife, we make a simple meal for the kids before we go. Chicken nuggets, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, or fish sticks. They love it.
I’m a sucker for the macaroni and cheese: the box you buy at the grocery store for a buck, boil the little noodles, add the butter and milk, and then stir in that signature packet of mysterious cheese powder.
As I dollop the school-bus-yellow creaminess onto my kids’ plates, my hunger kicks into high gear, and I want some for myself.
And I admit I’ve sullied more than one dinner out by filling up on macaroni and cheese before even leaving home.
This may or may not have been sinful, but it describes what I mean when I say your desire is not really the problem.
My truest desire was actually for something good. I wanted to enjoy a delicious meal out with my wife. But I let another, lesser, desire cut in line and distract me from what I really wanted.
My spirit was willing, but my flesh grasped for a counterfeit of the real meal.
Macaroni and cheese aside, this same effect is at work in weightier struggles we face.
- Joe loves Jesus and is a pillar of his church. He’s also been indulging in pornography, unaware that deep down he’s starving for intimacy.
- Janet’s colleagues applaud her drive as she works 80-hour weeks, but underneath, she’s dying for a sense of self-worth beyond her performance.
- Ed’s drinking again. He’s tried to stop, but his nerves haven’t been the same since he watched his son die. He’s thirsty for a peace he can’t seem to find.
Jesus knows the power of desire, and the pain of the soul’s hunger and thirst. It was your pain He shared as he cried out from the cross, “I am thirsty!” (John 19:28).
Have you been enjoying a macaroni-and-cheese version of satisfaction? If you keep filling your stomach, you may never discover what you’re really hungering for. And worse yet, you may never get it.
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied” (Luke 6:21).
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.