David was a very passionate person. He had big desires, a big heart and big expectations. He recklessly trusted God to protect him and prevail. He danced before the Lord with all of his might. He wanted 24 hour worship so anytime day or night he could hang out with God. But being in touch with his desires also got him into serious sin and trouble. Murder and adultery and testing the Lord by having the army counted. Yet he was considered a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14).
David was in touch with himself and his desires, to say the least. It gave God opportunity to work with him and develop him. David wrestled with God and God didn’t mind the struggle at all! It brought changes in David and put him increasingly on a path drawing him to God.
Jesus found it easier to work with people who were more connected to their desires: prostitutes and tax collectors. He struggled to connect with those who were in denial about having desires such as the seriously religious folk. Jesus wasn’t afraid of sin and sinners. He was troubled by hard hearts that sought to hide their deepest desires from him and themselves.
Too often the answer for wrong desires is to try and annihilate that part of the person that has wrong desires. One thing I have observed in many years of counseling people is that someone who is sexually abused has similar symptoms as someone whose sexuality was ignored and treated as if it didn’t exist. It is interesting how these two opposite woundings, one of abuse and the other of neglect, can have such a resemblance. God created people to have desires. God created people to be sexual. There must be some valid way of being those things or He would have never made us that way. Plus this is a way we are made in His image. He has desires and the fact that He wants to bond and be “one” with His people (see Eph. 5:32) is obviously the characteristic in Him that we resemble by longing to be “one” with another in sex.
Ps. 38 was written by David when he was in the throes of difficulty. He had sinned and now he was recognizing that his desires had led him astray (once again?). So, the psalm gives a great illustration of someone wrestling with their desires before God and looking to have them reoriented towards God, the only One who can truly satisfy.
Psalm 38 (NKJV)
O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure!
2 For Your arrows pierce me deeply,
And Your hand presses me down.
3 There is no soundness in my flesh
Because of Your anger,
Nor any health in my bones
Because of my sin.
David recognizes his desires have drawn him down a path away from God and into looking for fulfillment in something that doesn’t satisfy.
8 I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.
He is now in a broken state, and he has no peace.
9 Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You.
David is being totally honest with God. He is showing God this part of his heart that got him into trouble. He is laying these desires out before God and letting him know how much he longed for and hoped for satisfaction.
15 For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God.
21 Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me!22 Make haste to help me,O Lord, my salvation!
David is turning his heart towards God and beginning to hope in Him. He is using his desires to come towards God now and get into orbit around God. This will extricate him in time from the power of the other thing that had him in its power.
Pursuing our desires in ways that are contrary to God’s will won’t leave us happy and satisfied in the long term. Ultimately it will bankrupt our souls where we settle for a momentary pleasure at the cost of our over-all well-being. Many people have had to wrestle with that part of their soul to get it back into God’s orbit and then taste and see what God has to offer to fulfill them. On the other hand, others have never allowed their heart to utter the words: “this is what I want” or “this is what I desire” openly. They can’t admit it to themselves, much less to God. Their souls are seriously undeveloped and unopened to self, others and God. Their lives are shallow and sterile. To have fruit there must be union. For there to be union, there must be a knowing and offering of self.
God seems willing to accept us right where we are. What if our desires are twisted and hung into am orbit of destructive things? He will meet us there and help us get free. What is we are shut down and afraid of ever admitting we have desires and needs? He will meet us there and help us to look for the real self, find it and develop it. His goal is to win our hearts so we want Him, we desire Him.
We all are forces of nature who have our own gravity: we draw people and situations to ourselves to reflect our deepest held beliefs. Our deepest beliefs are our most powerful prayer. We draw people, situations, and things to ourselves by it. It’s our gravity. As we align to God and get into His orbit, it changes our gravity. People will increasingly be drawn into our orbit by His pull. This will bless or offend them depending on which way they want to go, towards or away from Him.
Everyone is born with the desire to give and receive love, for relationship and connection. Without it, an infant will die. But because we have the Divine design inside of us, there is a hunger for Him. He is the ultimate magnet that exerts a drawing force on us all. As we progress through life, our desires get sounded out and developed. Finding out what we want is meant to be an interesting and fascinating journey. Using our free will, we grow in knowing ourselves and discovering what we like and don’t like, what we want and don’t want. But that process can be fraught with difficulties and wrong turns. There can be many dead ends of pursing our desires and finding out that particular thing doesn’t satisfy. And then we are on to something else.
The relationship between an infant and its mother is a fascinating illustration of gravity. The mother longs for the infant and desires to draw the baby to herself. But she allows herself to be affected by the gravity of the baby as well. The infant cries out for the mother or care-giver in a frantic hope to draw her to herself. Her survival depends on it. Later, the baby seeks to engage others and draw them to her by catching their eyes and smiling at them in mini-connections. The baby is orbiting around the mother but in some ways the mother is orbiting around the baby!
Before sin entered the world we were meant to be full of God and others were meant to be full of God. When people desired us they would get some God. When we desired others we would get some God. Instead, nobody automatically offers God and no one automatically gets God.
Suppose an infant has basic needs met to the point that she survives but her deep desire that someone wants to be with her is never fulfilled. She will continue to experience this desire as unmet but will begin to find other ways of trying to meet it. She may become an experienced people pleaser, or someone who strives always to be perfect. She can give up hope of ever succeeding in getting this desire met and begin to pretend she has no desires. As life goes on, she may try many different avenues to get what she wants—to draw it to herself. She may orbit around many idols. Whoever she is connected to in the way of relationships will be affected by her ways of trying to get that need met.
Desire is a fundamental part of a person's soul that is with him always. The fact that he possesses this quality is because he is made in God’s image and God has desires. God desired to create the heavens and earth. He wanted to create a special piece of it to have fellowship and relationship with. He longed for people to want him with their ability to desire so He gave them free will. Jesus exhibited desires while He lived here. He desired to be about His Father’s business at 12 years old. He desired so much to win back companions for eternity that He was willing to suffer and die to make it happen (see Romans 12:2). It is quite moving to hear Him tell His disciples in Luke 22:15, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” We can never grasp all this meant to Him. He was facing a horrible trauma at the same time He was focusing on how that decision would get for Him the thing He most desired: humanity—humanity to be with Him forever, forgiven and able to share His light, life and love! A bride to come into communion with Him.
of us has our own type of gravity. Gravity is a stabilizing force in the universe that keeps things in place and in relationship to one another. Gravity is created by PRESENCE. Anything that has mass has its own gravity, us included. So, the earth’s gravity affects us but so does that of the people and things around us. We are captivated by earth’s gravity, but the earth is captivated by the sun’s gravity and the sun is captivated by our galaxy’s gravity which is held by greater galaxies. You get the picture. Everything that has mass in the universe has its own gravity. Gravity is very much like desire. Everybody wants to draw things to themselves, and everybody is affected by what others around them want. If we get free from one thing that is “holding” us by its gravity, then we are free to move into orbit around something else! There are two main ways we can be drawn in this matter. Towards God or away from Him.
Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32) He knew that when His body died it would create a fundamental change in the universe where now His gravitational force would become compelling and ultimate. Everything would end up before Him eventually, for better or worse. In the meantime, we have a journey through life of the evolution of our desires. Will the path lead us to Him or away from Him? What is the evolution of our desires and how can they end up being fulfilled by the “Desire of the Nations”? Spend time with God asking Him to put you in orbit around Him more and more.