My last post was about concealed covetousness, which goes hand in hand with deceitful desires.
The truth is, this isn’t the post I planned to write today. But today came, all wrapped up with angst and pricked with this longing in my heart that was so acute and so distracting that I had to stop reading Ephesians 4 and just put my head down and ask God for help.
And help He did. By lifting my eyes back up to the text and letting His Spirit speak to me loudly and clearly in His favorite way to speak these days: not by writing on the wall or burning bushes – but through His Word – living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
He reminded me through Ephesians 4, that there is this ‘old-self’ I need to take off. And I can tell when this pesky ‘old-self’ is running the show, because he is ruled by one thing: deceitful desires.
Desires aren’t wrong or bad, but ’deceitful desires’ are a different animal.
What makes a desire deceitful is not about the object you desire. It’s connected to the manner of your desire.
You are living in the ‘old-self’ when your desires testify lies about God.
Desire is deceitful when it promises deliverance in anyone or anything other than Christ. Deceitful desires whisper His insufficiently. Deceitful desires tell you of His withholding or His absence altogether.
Examine your heart.
Are you driven today by deceitful desires?
Are you being moved to bitterness or frustration with someone because they are standing between you and the perfect peace you crave? Your desire for peace is deceiving you. Peace comes from Jesus, not the object you crave.
Are you angry or panicked because your coworkers disrespected you? The acceptance you crave comes from God, not their respect.
Are you anxious and afraid because you have been convinced by your deceitful desires that the approval of people will justify you and make this world feel safe and okay?
The heart of your old self is fueled by the promise that possessing the thing you want will save you.
The good news is, you don’t have to figure out how to manage that deceitful desire. You don’t have to figure out how to wrangle it. You can just take it off.
In Christ – that old self has been crucified. It is like Peter Pan and his shadow. It’s been separated from you so that you can lay it aside without losing your identity at all.
Take it off. Take off the old self with its deceitful desires that harden your heart and corrupt you.
Let your mind be renewed by the Spirit and put on the true self: the version of you that is fueled by a new heart. A heart that is filled with desires for all kind of things: great and lofty things. This version of you that is driven by stronger desires than your old self could ever imagine.
Live in the version of you whose heart has desires that tell the truth: all that you want and all that you need is Jesus. Desires that testify that He is better. Desires that hunger for Him to be seen. That crave Him above all. Desires that demonstrate His trustworthiness and His Lordship.
This version of you is not someone you have to create. This new-self has been made already; born in the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Let that new-self win today.