By Aubrey Coleman
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.
Our desires give a window into our hearts. Desire is a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. When we think about the things in this life that we want the most, we get a picture of what our hearts are drawing and pulling us toward. When we look at the reality of our hearts, we get a picture of ourselves and what we value most. Proverbs 27:19 says, “As water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.” Consider how your desires reflect what you most value. Do you most desire companionship or someone to know and love you? Do you most desire a career that gives you purpose or achievement that gives you recognition? Do you most desire financial security and freedom? Do you most desire the body of your youth and contentment in your skin? Do you desire an orderly home and a thriving family? Do you desire endless time and days of ease?
Desires reveal the deepest longings of our hearts. They help us to pinpoint what matters most to us and what we are giving our lives to. Desire in and of itself is part of God’s intentional creativity in creating us. We were created for godly desire. We were created for our desires to lead us to worship God in all of His holiness and splendor. However, the result of the fall left our desires in disorder. Our desires shifted from God’s glory to our own. Because of sin, our desires are inclined towards ourselves. And when our desires take the throne of our hearts for too long, the Bible says we can be given over to them. (Romans 1:24-25).
When good things turn into god things, they have settled too deeply and comfortably into our hearts. Not only that, they will never be able to fulfill or satisfy the desires of our hearts. They will only serve as a cheap and fleeting substitute for the only One who can fully meet and fulfill the longings of our heart – our Creator. This is why we are called to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) because we can be deceived by them (Jeremiah 17:9).
Because of Jesus, we aren’t left to our sinful inclinations and overruling desires. We aren’t left to stand guard on our own. Salvation in Christ means we are given a new heart so that we may walk in His ways (Ezekiel 11:19). We are also given the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to help guide, direct, and shape our hearts to be more like Jesus. This new life that we are called to as Christians, brings a shift to our desires. The ultimate desire of our hearts should be to love and enjoy God forever. This was God’s intention from the very beginning, that we would live and delight in a relationship with Him. Jesus makes that pursuit accessible so that when we seek God with all of our hearts, we will actually find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). The more the pursuit of God remains our ultimate pursuit, the more our desires are shaped by His desires for us.
As God fulfills our every need and longing, we can find joy in His good and gracious gifts. We can enjoy good things without making them god things. We can delight in companionship, in our careers, in our appearance, in our families, in our children, in our homes, and every season of life, without being ruled by them. Because they do not contradict their design by sitting on the throne of our hearts, we are set free to desire as we were created to. We see this spelled out beautifully in a passage that is typically misinterpreted, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4). This does not mean when God takes the throne of our hearts that He will give us the things that we’ve previously sought after. It is not a transaction to be leveraged to get what we want. Instead, it means when our ultimate desire is to delight in the Lord, our desires begin to align with His desires. We can confidently hand over our desires to the Lord, entrusting them to be heard and cared for by Him. With each desire we hand over, we begin delighting in what He delights in and the language of His heart becomes the language of ours.