“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
A few hours ago, I enjoyed a lovely Easter dinner with new friends at a buffet. I am still stuffed and a little lethargic from eating delicious chow—more food than I needed and less than I wanted. Most of us engage in daily battles between our needs and desires. What do we truly need to live? We require air, water, food, shelter, clothing, light, and safety. Some of us need medication, medical assistance, and psychological assistance. Many people in developing countries do not have what is necessary for minimal life, such as water, food, shelter, and safety, while those in developed countries take these resources for granted. Our desires may conform to, be in addition to, or be in opposition to our needs. For example, we may desire only the nourishment needed to maintain our bodies in a healthy state, which would be ideal wouldn’t it? However, we often crave unhealthy snacks and desserts. Unfortunately, in our world today there is more unhealthy food readily available (at a cost) than wholesome food, which takes more time to prepare. So, our unhealthy desires are encouraged and readily satisfied, reinforcing them. One benefit of living in a developing country, is that there was less affordable fast food, so people have to prepare most food from scratch. Retiring in the United States has been a significant challenge, as there is “convenience” food everywhere! Everywhere I look there is a product that will satisfy a craving…for food, entertainment, travel, conveniences, housing, and every other aspect of life, tempting me to make foolish rather than wise choices in many areas of my life. Adam and Eve had this same problem when the serpent invaded the garden and planted the idea that they didn’t have all they needed (or wanted) to be satisfied. Their desire for something they lacked became a craving and then they were convinced that it was a need.
While our absolute needs are physical and material, we also have familial, social, and spiritual needs. Parents need to care for growing children, and older children may need to care for their parents. We need social interaction to be whole people. Pastors, theologians, and Christians respectively need to study, teach, (and perhaps preach), serve, witness, pray, work together, and use the graces of God to live in, with, and for Christ. Our jobs come with the need to perform tasks and projects, fulfill contracts, travel, or attend and lead meetings. It would be foolish to ignore these needs, and it wise to examine the basis for our choices.
This week we will begin a journey into our hearts where our desires live. Are you willing to examine your innermost desires and consider that some may be unhealthy? Will you trust Christ to change the desires of your heart into wise, biblical yearnings as he unites your heart to his?