Monday, August 2, 2010

Praiseworthy Desires: A Meditation


It seems to be a fundamental reality of human existence that every human being has an inner striving for an object-ive. The objective may be a thing, or an experience, or a person. 

Words like lust, greed, desire, craving and longing are often used to express this active human aspiring. For want of a better word, I'll use desire to refer to this inner striving.


Desires find their expression in every direction.

Evil desires become directed toward sexual depravity, covetousness, material pleasure, etc.  I'm not going to provide any blog-space on morally perverted or morally indifferent desires. 
Rather, I wish to reflect on morally praiseworthy desires

Specifically, I wish to consider the most fundamental desire in us: the religious desire for meaning and intelligibility in our existence -- the inner striving, the yearning God has implanted in all human hearts for justice, righteousness, redemption from evil, and freedom from the evil desires which lead us into sin (Is.58:2). 

The Lord Jesus spoke of good and evil desires as active in the thoughts and wishes of our hearts. But he also spoke of these desires flowing out of our hearts into the realm of deeds (Mt.15:17-20; Mk.4:13-19)

Our desires are deeply bound up with our human nature. Each of us needs to be constantly aware of our good and evil desires' determining influences on us. 

Evil desires can only be conquered by God's answer to all human desire: the Holy Spirit. The Spirit replaces evil desires as the determining power in our lives (Eph. 4:23; Rom. 8:9ff; Gal.5:16; 1 Pet.4:2).

Christians share a common desire of faith: the desire for a home with God in Christ. This desire does not arise from immanent impulses in human nature, but from a response of faith in God's promise of salvation in Christ (Heb.11:8-17)

This desire of faith synchronizes our will with this goal given by God, and expresses that synchronization in activities in this world. 

When the goal of our desire and striving is not God's salvation in Christ we fall into destructive sins of lust, covetousness, greed and gluttony. 

The righteous yearn for God.  God yearns that we live and act in love from our whole heart (Deut. 6:5), not merely from mechanical obedience in our actions. Such love will express itself in our praiseworthy efforts, words, thoughts, glances and wishes.

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