The Danger of Desire
Many people fear their greatest anxieties will become reality. Which is why one night while I slept, I dreamed I was being chased down a long, narrow hallway by a giant chocolate donut which screamed, “Eaaaat me! Eaaat me!” At that point in my life, I apparently liked donuts more than I should–so they’d become my enemy.
That’s the way any great desire can be. If we want something too much it can become a threat. Why? Because our Adversary can use what we long for most to seduce us into sin. It’s not surprising. After all, when is the last time you were tempted by something you didn’t desire?
In Scripture, James wrote, “. . .but when each one is tempted by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15, NIV).
Perhaps you’re thinking, This Scripture doesn’t apply to my desires, because mine aren’t evil. I just want to be loved, accepted, successful and have meaning in my life. There’s nothing wrong with that.
There is nothing wrong with God-given desires, but when any longing is not submitted to Christ, it can still lead to the trouble James describes.
For example, have you known a woman who wanted to be loved so badly she was tempted and became involved with an abusive man? Or, have you heard about a man who had such a longing for success that he was seduced into a dishonest business deal?
Desperate longings can make us do desperate things. Desires not submitted to Christ can make us to lose our sensibility, justify our behavior, and make excuses. When we give in to temptation, it may mean we’re not trusting God to provide. As a result, we settle for crumbs, when God wants to give us an entire cake.
What about you? Have you settled for less than God wants to give you because you’ve wanted something too much and haven’t trusted Him to meet your needs? If so, spend some time with Him, confess your unbelief and let Him comfort your fearful heart. Then, take a bold step toward obedience by saying no to temptation.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV)
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