What you want….

10 Jan

Desire is a major part of the Christian life.

We know that because the Bible has much to say about desire. Here are several observations:

1. The Christian life involves a real struggle between good desires and bad desires.

“Lusts of the flesh is a summary term for what is wrong with us in God’s eyes. In sin, people turn from God to serve what they want. By grace people turn to God from their cravings…The most significant inner conflict in Christians is between what we want and what the Spirit wants.” (David Powlison)

2. Desires aren’t always neutral.

There are desires that are part of being human and can either be good or wrong depending on the way we handle them, there are desires that go along with the unconverted state and then there are desires that are right and are appropriate for the person who is a child of God.

3. You mustn’t view your desires as simply givens.

There are obviously certain desires that are givens. The desire to eat for example. But gluttony isn’t a given. If a natural desire morphs into a sinful desire, or if we have a big time struggle with a certain sinful desire or if we don’t want the right things, we as Christians cannot sit back and say, I guess that is just the way it is. You can change even at the desire level, and in fact must if you are going to become the person God plans for you to be!

In saying that we must not underestimate the power of sinful desire, in fact as someone has said, we know only one power greater and that is the redeeming and transforming grace of our Lord.

4. We need to evaluate what we want in light of the work of God in us and the relationship we have with God as a result.

If I went up to a random person and said you should love this child, you would think that was strange. But if I went up to a mother and said you should love this child, you would all understand and even agree. Likewise, when thinking and talking about what we should and should not want, we should begin where the Bible does, with who we are. New people. Children of God. Transformed individuals. There are for example certain desires that go along with being a married man, and there are certain desires that go along with being in Christ.

Unfortunately, even as believers we often think of holiness in much too superficial a way. That was the Pharisees mistake and I don’t want it to be ours. Can I challenge you to do five things as you seek to grow in godliness?

* Ask yourself honestly, what do I want most?
* Evaluate those desires objectively and biblically. There is a reason sinful desires are sometimes called deceitful desires. They feel so right that we don’t often see them as being wrong. This is why it is often helpful to speak to a godly Christian and ask them to help you carefully evaluate what you are desiring.
* If your desires are sinful, call them that, recognize their power, remember the truth and make a plan for change.
* Think very carefully and often about your new relationship with God and what He has done and make sure that is the basis for your plans to change.
* Stop making excuses for sinful desires and begin seeking to replace them with godly desires. I am so glad I don’t have to be all the worst desires that I have ever tempted with. I am not determined by the things Satan has tempted me to do. There is great hope in that. Victory begins with a refusal to make excuses and a settled commitment to live out your every day life in a way that corresponds to the work God accomplished in your life through Christ.

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