Do you ever get the impression from some Christians that God is a kill-joy who doesn’t want us to experience pleasure? I hope I don’t ever mistakenly leave that impression, because God is all about giving deep and lasting pleasure! One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis describes it so well:
We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.
God isn’t opposed to desire or pleasure. He created us with a huge capacity for both. For most of us, the problem with our desires is that they are too small. Too ordinary. Too halfhearted. When my desires are coming from my flesh rather than His Spirit, they are base and natural. But He invites us to walk with Him in the supernatural:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other... (Galatians 5:16—17).
This passage goes on to describe the desires of the flesh: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies... ”
Hmmm... not a pretty picture. When my desires flow from selfish motives and are centered in selfish gain, they always leave me empty and gnawing with hunger. The desires of the flesh and Spirit are in opposition to one another and produce vastly different consequences. Fleshly desires are self-centered (think: two-year-old spoiled brat), but spiritual desires are God-centered.
In contrast to the desires of the flesh which end in death, the desire of the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
True fulfillment is only attained when my heart plugs into God’s desires. When my love for Him grows greater than my love of lesser things, when His desires fuel my desires, then I’m experiencing the joy of living out God-sized desires.
So what is “God’s ultimate desire?” He lays out His one, all-consuming passion and desire for us in Numbers 14:21: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
He’s leading a holy expedition and wants you to join Him on His sacred mission. What a privilege! We’ve received an invitation to go beyond the flesh, to live out His kingdom purpose. Who wants to join the quest?
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