October 16, 2020
“The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.”
While many view our goal as disciples of Jesus to be successfully resisting our godless desires, it is actually a greater goal of ours to desire differently than we have in the past. Our great aim, after all, is to become like our Master Jesus, and this includes coming to want what He wants and desire what He desires.
What we want, then, is not just to say “No” to the sinful desires we currently have, but to be trained under our Master to learn the worthiness and goodness of other things so that we come to genuinely come to desire them instead. When our “wanter” is fixed (to paraphrase some mature fellow disciples), our pursuit becomes one of gain rather than of loss. An important part of Kingdom righteousness is having the right kind of desires, and this righteousness is available through discipleship to our Master.
I do not mean to say that you shouldn’t have any sinful desires anymore. You will continue to have sinful desires “which war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11), as I do, and this doesn’t mean you’re not a faithful disciple of Jesus. Whether you yield to those desires or to the desire of Christ is what will speak to your faithfulness. That said, you should be able to see that your desires are shifting over time as you learn more and more from Jesus. His vision of the goodness of God’s Kingdom vision and the true value of other people will shape your values, and your values will shape your longings.
For instance, when a disciple comes to understand the fullness of another human being’s purpose and value in God’s eyes, their fleshly desires to possess another’s body for their own pleasure (i.e. lust) will give way to a desire to see the other find blessing and fullness in the endless life of God’s Kingdom. And when a disciple comes to understand the limits of wealth’s power and worthiness, and the limitlessness of God’s power and worthiness, their desire to acquire and accumulate money and stuff (i.e. greed) will give way to the desire to bless the poor and needy with what they need. Can you think of other examples of Kingdom desires displacing fleshly ones in the process of learning under the Master?
Keep on saying “No!” to the old-self desires that still lurk in the shadows, Disciple. Be strong and courageous against their enticing calls. But don’t stop there. Read, listen to, and discuss the words and ways of Jesus and His apostles so that your “wanter” can be washed and renewed. Marvel at the miraculous ways your desires align with the perfectly beautiful desires of your Master so that, more and more, you experience the truth that “the desire of the righteous ends only in good.” Come to think of it, just wanting to want what He wants is a pretty fantastic shift by itself, isn’t it?
Wanting to want what He wants with you,