Desiring Desire

Galatians 5:16-18, 24-26

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

(all verses ESV)

I’ve been in a weird place recently. Not an overall positive or negative state, but definitely a “something isn’t quite the way it should be” kind of feeling.

Over the past week or so I have taken notice of which really drive me. I could rattle off a list of things that I currently have that give me pleasure, and another list of things that I desire – the things that get me to kick myself in the butt and do what it takes to get them (which is very surprising, and those who have seen how lazy I can be will agree with me!)
The actual things that I thought of are not my concern here – some of them are sinful, and some of them are actually very good things. But what they all have in common is that they are motivated by the desires of my flesh. I do them because the part of me that is of broken, sinful, worldly origins enjoys doing them – even if they aren’t sinful themselves.

It just blows my mind to think of how much I spend chasing after these things that, in and of themselves, are temporary pleasures and vain pursuits. I know that I can only find ultimate satisfaction in God. And here’s where I feel really convicted and kinda stupid: If I can find the greatest of satisfaction from intimacy with God, why am I not desiring it more than anything else and doing nothing but working towards it?

In other words, why do I spend so much time running after what my worldly flesh desires, and so little on what the spirit desires? Romans 6:16-18 refers to believers as “slaves of righteousness,” but I feel that I’m not even fulfilling a slave’s job description! “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I want to be motivated for intimacy with God like I’m motivated by my own flesh. I want that drive and desire to be so strong that I can’t help but to run towards Him and do whatever I can to get closer with Him.
I want the good things that I do out of fleshly enjoyment to turn into mere channels through which I can get closer to God.
I want my desire of God to be so strong that I can joyfully repent of the sinful things that the flesh leads me to do, instead of struggling with guilt, conviction, or addiction.

I’ve been praying for a while for that kind of a desire, and I got kind of frustrated with God because it didn’t start happening in the way I wanted it to. I expected Him to make that desire just start growing in me, since I know that I am incapable of overcoming my flesh – a part of myself – on my own. But day after day, that desire didn’t start growing..
But recently, something unexpected happened – God started showing me other things – little things here and there in my own behavior – that, through his grace, I am capable of overcoming and improving. He kind of told me that these things are little personal “prerequisites” that, when satisfied, will bring about changes in my character that will make that desire for God grow.
(I should clarify here: I’m not saying that God told me “Stop doing X,Y, and Z and you will have an insatiable desire for intimacy with me,” as there is no magic trick to make it work. I see it as a never-ending, never-complete process with which God can bring himself closer to us.)

So. It is what it is. God is working in ways smarter than I think he should work. He is faithful. I am willing. All praise to God, who strengthens me!