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Joy of Every Longing Heart

How do human desires reflect God's design?

by Andy Davis on January 09, 2024

"Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, 'What are you seeking?' And they said to him, 'Rabbi (which means Teacher), 'where are you staying?' He said to them, 'Come and you will see...'" John 1:38-39
"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4


The Christian life on this earth is a life of deep longing, since so many of the promises of God are as yet unfulfilled. Paul says, "If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (Romans 8:25) But a Christian also waits with intense longing, with deep desire. A strong desire for God and for his gifts characterizes a spiritually mature heart.

 Our desires are patterned after God's. In this life of desire, we display the image of God, for our God also longs and desires as well. God's perfect plan, formed by his wisdom before the creation of the world, sets the course for his desires. His omnipotent right hand moves in space and time to achieve all that his heart desires. He will continue to desire and to achieve those desires until the end of time. For example, David reveals that God desires our integrity, our godly character. "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place." (Psalm 51:6)

"The burning mission of Christ's life was also one of desire: to seek wandering sinners and to delight when they repented and came home."

Christ told us that the Father seeks true spiritual worshipers, and that this seeking is the center of what he is doing in the world, "...true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship inspirit and in truth." (John 4:23-24, paraphrase) This passionate longing of God for people who will worship him in spirit and truth drives his sovereign plan, and thus all history.

Since Christ is the perfect image of his Father, and he is the One whom the Father sent to accomplish his desire, it is not at all surprising that Christ himself spoke of his own seeking and his own longings. The burning mission of Christ's life was also one of desire: to seek wandering sinners and to delight when they repented and came home. After Zacchaeus's marvelous conversion, Jesus summed up his entire life's work in terms of desire: "The Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost." (Luke 19:10)

To be conformed to Christ means to likewise live a life of passionate desire - above all, desiring to do the will of God and to seek the lost, so that we may dwell with them and Christ in heaven forever.

 (excerpt adapted from An Infinite Journey, pages 215-217, by Andy Davis)

Tags: creation, joy, kingdom of god, jesus christ