“Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh,to gratify its desires.” – Romans 13:14
What do I desire? Do I even know? What if I want more than one thing? Does this divided desire keep me from my deepest desire? Desire raises a lot of questions.
Some Christians believe or teach that all desire is evil, that somehow desire leads us away from God and His will and way (His desire, if you will) for our lives. Other Christians acknowledge that our desire is part of what it means to be made in the image of God. They would say that our heart’s desire has been corrupted because of sin, but that our desire and longing after God should be fostered and acted upon as our first priority. Others would argue that our desires are linked to who God made us to be and that by acknowledging our heart’s desires, our dreams, and our longings we are actually engaging and responding to God’s call for our lives.
Perhaps Romans 13:14 helps us. If we read this verse and its context it is clear that for the Apostle Paul, all desire is not bad. Much of his writing in his letters contain his desire for the people to whom he writes. Desire that leads to, honors, and engages in God’s desire for our lives and the world is good. A sanctified imagination, will lead us toward living out God’s purposes in the world. The desire that Paul calls us to flee from is the kind of desire that is simply about “making provision for our flesh.” In the verse right before this he speaks of those who are partying, drinking in excess, quarrelling, and engaging in all kinds of self-serving behaviors that seek only to make us “feel good” at the moment and provide excitement or some other need in the midst of our boring or tough circumstances.
God wants us to have an exciting life, a life that is abundant and full; but the truth is this comes as we seek and “put on” the life and character of Jesus Christ.
What is your heart’s desire? Is it leading you closer to Jesus Christ and his purposes for your life? What is God’s desire for your life and the world? What can you do today that will help connect with that?