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Mature in Passionately Desiring Godly Things

What do your desires reveal about you?

by Andy Davis on April 09, 2024

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1-2  
"Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved." Romans 10:1

Maturing Christians develop an array of passionate, godly desires that direct daily life. The healthy Christian life is one dominated by passionate desires. What is a desire? It is a heart yearning for something you do not yet have. A heart with literally no desires is a dead heart, even if it is biologically alive. Many people live as dead people in this world, so seared by the realities of this sin-cursed world that they have no taste for anything at all. Christians should never be so! Instead, we know that there are many wonderful things that God has promised to us for the future that we do not now possess. And a healthy Christian heart should earnestly desire those things.

It is a beneficial study for a Christian to go through scripture and find those things the Bible says Christians should desire. We are essentially forward-looking people, driven on by godly passions and ambitions for things we do not have yet but ardently desire. The greatest of these is God himself. By this I mean a deeper, fuller, richer experience of all that God is. Those experiences are foretastes of heaven itself, and the psalmist in Psalm 42 beautifully and poetically describes that life of desiring God: “As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). This is not spoken as an unregenerate person, a lost person. Not at all! Rather it is someone who has tasted and seen that God is good. He is fully aware that God has infinitely more of his goodness to convey to his soul and he yearns for it. Ultimately this desire is a yearning to be in heaven itself when the time comes. Paul said, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23). So, an ever-increasing yearning for heaven is part of the Christian’s journey toward spiritual maturity. Our desire for heaven’s perfect fellowship with God is nowhere near what it should be.

"We should hate the concept of a lukewarm life that Christ would vomit out of his mouth."

In a similar fashion, we should desire the salvation of those around us. No one displayed that passion better than Paul. He openly stated that his heart’s desire and prayer for the unconverted among his fellow Jews was passionate and strong. So strong, in fact, that he earlier said he would trade his own salvation for it if he could (Romans 9:3). That yearning for the salvation of lost people drove Paul daily and formed his lifelong ambition: “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known” (Romans 15:20). But he had other ambitions as well, especially to please God at every moment (2 Corinthians 5:9).

These strong desires, these ambitions, these drives, these appetites should characterize the lives of every Christian. We should fan the flames of these desires every day by scripture and prayer. We should hate the concept of a lukewarm life that Christ would vomit out of his mouth (Revelation 3:16). A mature Christian is characterized by a wide array of passionate godly desires. And those desires are vastly stronger today than they were a year ago.

Tags: worship, internal journey