Monday, October 9, 2023

Desiring Good and Bad Things

According to the online dictionary, desire is defined as ‘a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen’. An evil desire, therefore, is a craving to fulfil or satisfy a God-forbidden want. This may be for things we have, but we lust after the things of others. This subject will be presented from a Biblical point of view and how as Christians we should control our desires. In this article, we will look at good and bad desires, and what God desires of us.

It is normal and natural to have desires, but the choice we exercise over these desires is what matters (Romans 8:5). When we listen to the voice of the flesh to satisfy its cravings over God’s will, we have decided to disobey Him. The spirit of desire is something that we can’t just wish away or get rid of. It is part of us, and we exercise a choice or our will to control it. While an evil desires might be sinful in and by itself, it produces death when we obey it (Galatians 5:16-17). As we have recognised, some desires are good and some are evil. As Christians, we are often faced and overwhelmed by strong unwanted feelings. Some of these desires are fed through our senses to satisfy a craving, while other desires are resident within us. The inner being desires God’s perfection (Romans 7:22, Psalm 40:8). Let us look at desiring good things.

What Are Bad Desires?

Brethren, the Scriptures are clear on evil desires. We are warned in the Bible not to live to obey the cravings of our evil desires (Romans 6:12). The Apostle Paul urged Timothy to "Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22).

In the book of Galatians 5:19-21, we are warned against some bad desires which lead to sordid sinful behaviours that are completely prohibited and result in the loss of eternal life and earning punishment in Hell. We exercise a free will to either satisfy a desire or to flee from it, as Paul urged Timothy above. What the Apostle meant is that we must choose to flee from evil desires and choose to obey God by pursuing what He desires (Psalm 51:6). In the account of the fall of man, Eve had the commandment not to eat from the forbidden tree; she was however driven by the spirit of desire which she chose to obey, and this resulted in Judgement (Genesis 3:6).

Good Desires

In Scripture, we are urged to desire "truth in the inward parts" (Psalm 51:6) and to "earnestly desire the best gifts" of God (I Corinthians 12:31). These are considered good desires! I would just like to add something here; if we desire the good things from God, we must be able to live our lives pleasing to Him in word and in deed like Daniel and David (Daniel 10:11; 1 Samuel 13:14). I have met and personally know many Christian brothers and sisters who have great desires for the things of God. They want to do great things for God in what they say, but sadly, unlike David and Daniel, they lack loyalty towards God. Some of the things they desire, which are unscriptural, are a desire to have a big church, and while this shows ‘faith,” it is more based on being dominant and in charge. The purest desire is to desire God and to do His will like our Lord Jesus, Daniel and King David displayed in their humble and obedient attitudes (John 4:34, Philippians 2:5-9). Desiring to live in a way that is pleasing to God is to seek what is acceptable to Him (Romans 12:2), but desiring the pursuit of an ambition is to seek what we want more than what God has called us to (Matthew 6:33). We have been asked by many people to ask the Lord Jesus Christ what their calling was; in reply the Lord would point them to their relationship with Him (John 15:7). Often, He finds them being caught up in worldliness and lacking in Bible reading and praying.

We may desire the gifts as the Scripture rightfully urges us, but are we bearing the fruit to exude these gifts? The Lord Jesus Christ told me that the gifts of the Holy Spirit do not operate without His permission, and we must bear fruit of submission and obedience to Him (1 Corinthians 12:11; John 16:14). He says He does not give Christians power to show off and attract people to them, but that He might be seen alive in a fruit-bearing Christian.

Furthermore, good desires are born out of obedience to the Lord (John 6:38; Psalm 37:4). In obeying God, we choose to subject our will to God and sacrifice our appetites in obedience to His will. We desire well if our motive is to obey Him more than the wishes of man (Acts 5:29; John 12:43). People have expectations of us, but doing things to please man against the will of God is equally sinful. Simply put, the Lord wants you to desire Him and His will more than ANYTHING else (Matthew 12:30).

In addition, some people have a desire to be like someone else and to live and do the things that person did. However, the Bible encourages us to imitate those in the faith in terms of their walk with God, but not to be like them, as each one of us have received our own gift from God according to our faith (1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Peter 4:10). Therefore, the desire to be like someone else, which the church is filled with today, is not of God, but from our own selfish ambitions (Matthew 7:21). In fact we are urged to be like Jesus; this is the purest desire (Colossians 3:1-17, 1 Peter 1:14-16, Ephesians 1:4).

What Does God Desire For Us?

God desires that we live just as this the Scripture declares,Tell them: As I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent; repent of your evil ways! Why will you die, house of Israel?” (Ezekiel: 33:11 Holman CSB).

In conclusion, let us exercise the right choice – the choice to obey the Lord when we are confronted by our desires. The following Scripture should serve as a reminder to us to desire godly living: “God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger” (Romans 2:6-8)

Have you been making demands of God or having selfish desires that are not in line with His will? Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

With love and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Glenn.