What Desire Drives You?

Pastor James
January 18, 2024

Are you healthy? How do you know? There are many measures to gauge our health. One is the presence of robust desires. When sick in bed, we have no desire for anything, not even for food, except for getting well. I have heard from others that, when a person reaches the last stage of his life, his desire to do things decreases, including his appetite. Soon, he turns into a shell of his former self, closer to the grave than to life.

In contrast, a healthy person brims with all kinds of desires. It’s a sick person who constantly thinks about health. A healthy person thinks about the things he wants to do instead of thinking about his health.

A sad sight to see is people who are devoid of desires. Their eyes have no focus or sparkle. Their bored faces are ready to break out into a yawn anytime. They’d rather live in a familiar misery than take a risk and try something new. They live only because they are alive and afraid to die; they lack the desire to make something of themselves.

Connie Hintz summarizes what we are talking about here by pointing out how C.S. Lewis describes three responses to the experience of desire. The first is “the fool’s way”: “The fool spends his life flitting from one earthly pleasure to another, always hoping that the new car, the new hobby or the new environment will bring him the satisfaction he seeks.” The problem is that “[a]ttempts to prolong or multiply or manufacture the thrills tend to result in ever diminishing satisfaction, ending in boredom and disappointment” (C.S. Lewis).

The second is “the way of the disillusioned, sensible man.... The disillusioned ‘sensible’ person simply represses his desire, dismissing the whole thing as ‘a bunch of moonshine’ and training himself not to expect too much out of life.” Living that way may make one sensible but not fully alive. We cannot be fully alive, suppressing all our desires. Desire, after all, is the engine that drives our life forward.

Thankfully, God did not make us to be stuck between these two ways; there is a third way, “the way of the Christian”: “the Christian is one who takes delight in earthly beauty but recognizes that the ultimate object of his longing is God, the source of all earthly beauty.”

Andrew D. Huberman, a neuroscientist, said, “Addiction is a progressive narrowing of the things that bring you pleasure.” When healthy, you enjoy a variety of things. When you get addicted to something, it becomes an all-consuming desire. All the good things in this world have that addictive quality. Only when God is the ultimate object of our desire—when we love God with all our being—can we truly enjoy everything else. How? Desiring God with all our being may sound like an addiction. Can we speak of being addicted to God? “Addiction” has a negative connotation. But if it means an all-consuming desire, we should be addicted to God above all else!

But when God becomes our all-consuming desire, it leads to true happiness, which, according to Huberman, produces “a progressive expansion of the things that bring you pleasure.” This is because God is the Maker and sovereign Lord of all things. The good things of the world are not just random matters that interest us; they are signposts that point us to God; they are appetizers that whet our appetite for the ultimate satisfaction we will have in God!

Haven’t you already been disillusioned by what you have desired and acquired? The right response is not to be “sensible” and do away with your desires. It’s not that the things you desire are necessarily bad in themselves; it’s just that you are made for something infinitely better. God alone can satisfy your insatiable desire. How can you have God? Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father, except through me.” This is because our sins have separated us from God, who is holy. Jesus died for sinners. If you trust Him as your Savior, you can be reconciled with God and He will satisfy your deepest longings for all eternity