The late Dr. M. Scott Peck was the author of the best-selling book,”The Road Less Traveled.” As a psychiatrist, Dr. Peck spent a great deal of time working with patients in a large psychiatric hospital. He discovered in his practice an almost universal apathy: lack of interest; no desire to ask questions; no desire to seek the new and to grow; “no taste for mystery” as he puts it.
However, Dr. Peck learned that if he could cultivate in the patient a willingness to want, to search, and to grow, then there was some hope. But if not, he said there was little hope for the patient.
Dr. Peck’s observation speaks to the importance of desire in one’s life in order to make progress, and be successful. This is no less true in the spiritual realm. The Bible has a great deal to say about desire.
The psalmist writes, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
While writing regarding spiritual gifts, Paul admonished “earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way” (1 Cor 12:31).
Furthermore, the great apostle to the Gentiles admitted that he had a fervent desire for Israel, “that they might be saved” (Rom 10:1). This was because Paul’s life was focused on his desire for heaven. In fact, he once wrote while in a Roman prison, “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:21)
However, for heaven to become a reality, we must desire spiritual growth and maturity in Christ. Our passion should be, as Peter put it like “newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Pet 2:1-2)
“Desire is the starting point of all achievement,” wrote American self-help author Napoleon Hill. It is “not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” It is ‘burning desire to be or do something that gives us staying power ,” opined Marsha Sinetar. Desire provides the “reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment.”
But not all desires come from God. Not all desires are holy. Pure. And spiritually focused. The Bible repeatedly warns us against “evil desire.” When we allow our minds and emotions to be guided by our carnal passions, then the wrong kind of desires can control our lives. When evil desires are conceived, they give birth to sin; which ultimately produces spiritual death and eternal separation from God (Jas 1:15).
When evil desires arise, they must be put to death (Col. 3:5). Then replaced with the “desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:12). The ancient Roman orator and philosopher Cicero advised, “Let your desires be ruled by reason.” I would add the word “revelation.” When reason and God’s revelation are combined our desires are regulated by a divine value system. Channeled into righteous pursuits. And disciplined by godliness.
Dr. Charles Stanley once raised the question in one of his posts, “If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?”
“Your answer,” says Dr. Stanley, “reveals a lot about who you are.”
It also unmasks the kind of desires that lurk deep down in your soul.
May your desires ascend to noble thoughts. Bigger dreams. Higher things. And heavenly aspirations.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman