The Power of Desire


1eatingHope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  

Proverbs 13:12

Mankind was designed to live with a heart full of hope. It began in the Garden.  
Adam, walking in wholeness and obedience, named the animals. Yet as he named each one, something unsettling began in his heart. In fact, maybe we could say God was setting him up. As he named each animal, this unanswered desire arose in his heart.  

“None of these animals are like me!”

With each step, this powerful desire grew.  A true need arose within Adam. He needed someone like him. Someone to walk alongside him as he fulfilled his destiny. He needed a woman. He needed Eve.

And God provided for Adam’s desire and  the provision became a “tree of life” for Adam. Oh, you might say that that could not be true because Eve was tempted, fell, and led Adam away from a path of life, but yet, she did become a tree of life. Through her body would be birthed the Tree of Life for all of us.

How often mankind struggles with desire! We try to kill desire, avoid desire, train desire, anything but understand our desire. Perhaps a different way of looking at desire could be profitable for us.

Could we ask the following question of the desires we find in our hearts?

What is the legitimate godly expression of this desire?

Desire is a powerful force. One that can birth invention, fulfillment of dreams, and new relationships.

Or it can birth ungodly dreams, broken or wrong relationships, and paths of destruction.
In The World, The Flesh, and Father  Bruce Smith (1945) said that ". . .the young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God."  What did he mean?

On my recent trip to Thailand, I looked into the eyes of a sea of prostitutes.  Their primary desire was provision. Impoverished and unskilled, these young women and ladyboys were seeking to fulfill this desire by ungodly means. It was not the desire that was wrong; it was the path they chose to fulfill the desire.

Thomas Aquinas said, "Every sinful behavior is rooted in a legitimate godly appetite."

The drug addict taking one more pill or shooting some substance in his veins is looking to fulfill desire. He wants to feel good. Or perhaps he is looking to bury his pain, forget it for a few hours.  He is seeking to fulfill desire in an illegitimate way.
Those poor enslaved people, right?

What about your desires? How are you seeking to fill them? And what about my desires? How am I seeking to fill them?

Huh, you might think, "What’cha talkin’ ‘bout, Mikki?”

What are the illegitimate ways that we seek to fulfill desire?

Some use food to bury desire. Some use shopping. Others use fantasy.  And then there are those who use work to bury their heart. Or they plan just one more trip. Some exercise away the voice of desire within them.

But you might say, “Those things are not the same as using sex or drugs or alcohol!” Right? Well, maybe not.

You see, desire is to bring forth a “tree of life” for us. A tree has roots that grow deeper and deeper with time. Roots that anchor the tree during storms.  

When we allow God to fill our legitimate desires through godly means, the desire is a tree of life.

When we seek to fulfill our legitimate desires through ungodly means, the desire is a tree of death, drinking its sustenance from a river of unrighteousness and yielding unrighteous fruit.

Today I am suggesting we quiet the voices that beg for our immediate attention, pause and spend some time with God, asking Him to show us what our desires truly are, and asking Him to uproot any ungodly expressions or means we are using to try to fill those desires.

Maybe you could give up your romance novel and try romancing your husband.  Maybe you need to give up working on that perfect yard for an hour or two and try working on an important relationship. Perhaps you need to give up your internet obsession or your need to be constantly “connected” to the world through email, twitter, facebook, etc., and get a real connection with God or someone else.

This blog is not intended to condemn you or me – that is not a tree of life! But it is intended to challenge us to lay our desires before God and ask for His wisdom and insight, His discernment.

How can we use our desires in righteous ways? How can our desires lead us to fulfill God’s desires for us and for His world?

Proverbs 4:12 tells us to guard our heart because out of it flow all the issues of our life. In a way, checking up on the legitimacy of our desires is a way to guard our hearts. It is a safeguard to help us redirect when necessary.

How important is it for us to learn that when our desires are unmet, when we are living in a place called “Hope Deferred”, we must take care how we navigate the season for the enemy will come, and our own flesh will rise up to declare – or perhaps even just to whisper in our ears – “You deserve to have that desire met!”  Reminds me of two people in a Garden who sought to fulfill a legitimate desire in a forbidden way.

But God! Yes, God was able to redeem their wrong choices. Yes, they still experienced pain. And disappointment. And physical death. But God offered a tree of life to redeem them.

He still offers that Tree today. His name is Jesus. He can redeem your wrong choices, and He will birth righteous desires in your heart.

Are your desires being expressed through a tree of life or a tree of death?

What might your life look like six months from now if you were willing to lay your desires at God’s feet and submit to allowing them to be filled in God’s way?

What breakthrough might you experience in the days to come if you really connected to your true heart and discovered the legitimate godly desire underneath your sinful behavior?

How would your life be different if you committed to allowing God to change your illegitimate desires into legitimate ones?

The choice is yours. The power needed is God’s and is always available for us as we learn to live our lives fully alive to the glory of God.


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  1. Noemi says:

    You hit the nail right on the head again! Been going through so much in the past 6-7 months, and I am only now going back to the One who can meet all my needs and desires. I am still learning – I am too enamored by so many things. Thanks for the reminder and challenge.

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