As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before you
- Desires in life
In our scripture, the Psalmist is declaring his fervent desire to be with and to live for God. At this specific moment he feels down and that God is distant. However, the Psalmist still believes that his help and redemption comes from the Lord Almighty.
As young people, we have various desires in life. A desire is described as a strong feeling of wanting to have something or for something to happen. A desire may also be may also be referred to a wish or aspiration. The desires within every person are important because they direct your life and shape your destiny. Many decisions in life are based on aspirations of where you want to be. For instance, if you desire to be a teacher in future, you will need to make decisions that will channel you to reach your aspirations. It is important to know that what you desire is closely linked to what you love.
- Desires of the flesh
People have physical desires which are part of their genetic makeup when they were created by God. Some basic desires can simply be a preference for certain things over other things. Physical desires require a level of self-control and need to be kept in check.
My focus in this lesson is on spiritual desires. Due to the fall which happened when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden, sin entered the world. Genesis 3:6 says “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Its interesting that “desire” played a role in the fall of man. This highlights the importance of the desires and how they can affect your destiny.
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
As a result of our sinful nature, there are certain desires which are within us that separate us from God. When you are born again, your desires are supposed to change and your appetite for the desires of the flesh is supposed to become less and less.
As a young Christian, there are certain desires we ought to not have. As true born again child of God, your desire to gratify the flesh by sinning becomes less as you know God. In Galatians 5:17-21, the Apostle Paul specifies some of the sinful desires we are not to have. These desires are against God’s will and will ultimately lead to your destruction.
Galatians 5:16 – 21
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factionsand envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
- The desire for riches above God
Many young people describe success as having a lot of money or riches because they associate it with happiness and fulfilment. Yes, God can bless his children with wealth and they can be able to accumulate many things in this world. However, our priority in life is not to be rich in terms of earthly materials because it holds no eternal value. Life and history has shown that money does not equate to happiness. Money is an important resource to have so that you can meet the various needs in life but it must not be your greatest desire above God. The scriptures warn about the extreme desire be rich. Often when people accumulate material things, their heart becomes prideful and they begin to think they do not need God because they have it all.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
1 Timothy 6:9
Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.
1 John 2:17
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
- The desire for self-exaltation
Many young people desire to be noticed, wanted, liked and widely known so that they can be held in high esteem by their peers and general society. People may seek to fulfil this desire through social media, acquiring titles or positions, acquiring riches etc. This desire for assurance by society at large can be seen by the behaviour and decisions they make in life. We are called to humility and not be self-seeking. This does not mean a child of God must have an inferiority complex and lack confidence. Rather a child of God must find their true identify in God and not from society. Instead of focussing on exalting ourselves we must rather focus on seeking God and serving other people. As a young believe when you humble yourself by the side of the Lord, He indeed will lift you up.
Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
- Godly desires
- Desire Christ who gives the “the Spring of living water”
The desire of every young person must be know Jesus Christ and to live a Christ-like life. To live holy and separated for the will of God. When you accept Jesus in your life, God gives you the Holy Spirit who is a Spring of living water which leads to eternal life.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
When there is a genuine desire to live for God there is a transformation in the life of person. As you put off the old man and your desire for God grows, God continually transforms your mind. As a young person your goal must be to resist sin and fulfil the will of God in your life. A true born again child of God must live as Christ did.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
1 John 2:6
Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
- Desire the word and to do the will of God
As young believers our desires must be aligned to God’s will. We need to desire what God desires and that is a life separated from sin. To know God’s will you must know His word. Therefore, it is important to desire His word which is like food for your body; without it you cannot survive.
1 Peter 2:2
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow, thereby
As you begin to know God through His word, there is a positive change which occurs within you, and your life will surely show. Your eyes will be opened to see that a concerted effort to gain the material things of this life is meaningless if your primary desire is not God. A life of righteousness and obedience to God’s will is what each one of us must desire. Jesus was obedience to His Father and fulfilled the will of His father completely.
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
Your desire to do God’s will is founded on having a person relationship with God. When you are born again, your desire is to live by the Spirit and not the flesh.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Setting your mind on what the Spirt of God desires is what pleases God.
- Desire to be in the presence of God and His people
As a young believer, it is important to have a desire to hear God’s word and to be amongst His people. In our scripture the Psalmist illustrates his desire for God as a deer which pants for the stream of waters. This shows a genuine longing to hear from God, not just a once of satisfaction but a continual sustenance through life. As a child of God you can hear from God in various ways. This can be through a personal revelation, reading your bible, prayer, going to church and listening to God’s word, building relationships with the people of God or even through His creation.
LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.
When you desire to do the things of God, God fulfils your desires. God promises that when you seek Him wholeheartedly, you will indeed find Him.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
- The blessing of desiring God
When we seek God first and desire to do His will, He will give you the desires of your heart. As young believers we need to have a genuine longing for God. When we truly desire Him and we live according to His will, He is true to His promises.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
The fear of the wicked will come upon him, and the desire of the righteous will be granted
Matthew 5: 6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
When we desire and long to please God, God promises that our thirst for Him will be filled. It is a blessing to thirst and long for the Almighty God.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
It is important to note that the desire and genuine longing must be followed by actions and living according to God’s will. My prayer is that God continues to fill you and me with the desire to continually be in His presence.