[The blog post is part of a series based on a course called Satisfed]
Hunger is a weird thing. When you think about the sensation it’s not necessarily the most painful thing you’ve ever experienced, but it’s prompting. It makes you feel like you must take action.
It’s the same with our desires. Sometimes they feel like dull grumblings in our souls and sometimes they feel like ravenous beasts. These desires can be the most destructive forces in our lives, tearing us away from the living God, but I also believe they can be instrumental in finding satisfaction in God.
Every single one of us will have to figure out what to do with the deep appetites of our soul. Most of us have tried to manage our desires in two ways:
- Either we try to deal with these desires by satisfying them ourselves
- Or we try to destroy our desires
However, both of these two ways actually sabotages our ability to be satisfied in God.
Satisfying them ourselves.
When you feel hungry for something, most people you meet will encourage you to follow that appetite to whatever offers satisfaction. They will encourage you to pursue the world to feed that hunger.
There are two problems with this:
1. It doesn’t seem to work. I have yet to meet a person who never feels hungry to be more accepted, more loved, more known. No one’s hunger seems to be fully satisfied. We constantly want more.
2. The Bible calls it sin. Sin is what happens when we satisfy eternal desires with temporal things.
A lot of us in the Church get that turning to the world to satisfy our deepest desires is not a good plan. Our response plan has far too frequently been to make the desire itself the enemy. As a result, we have sabotaged the design of our desires by attempting to destroy them.
Seeking to destroy our desires.
When I started walking with Jesus I promised myself I would banish all my longing. I would stop wanting happiness or love or security. These desires were ruining my life, leading me to sin and sabotaging my ability to connect with Jesus.
The goal of Christianity for me became: don’t let anyone know you’re hungry. If I was hungry it meant something was wrong. If I longed to be known and loved it was because I was a sinner. If I wanted to be valuable and important it was a result of the Fall.
Here’s the problem: I do have evil desires, but I also have desires that are knit into my very soul to be like a sign post pointing me to an eternal trajectory. If I try to destroy those kind of desires, I will encounter two obstacles:
1. It’s impossible to destroy our deepest desires. Underneath all superficial desires for temporal things, we have desires for eternal things that are in our DNA and cannot be moved.
2. The Bible talks about our hunger as if it is a critical part of our design, written into us for the glory of God. Our hunger is designed by God to display His glory.
For he satisfies the longing soul, And the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:9 ESV)
When we seek to destroy our desires we rob God of the opportunity to feed us. We rob Him of the glory that comes when He displays that He alone is able to meet those needs.
Whether we gorge ourselves on the world or seek to destroy our desires, either way, we end up unsatisfied. God alone satisfies. And He satisfies the longing soul. If our souls aren’t longing we have disqualified ourselves from receiving satisfaction from him.
The struggle to redeem desires is not pretty. I’m not writing this as a woman who is fully satisfied in God. There are many places where my desires feel unmet and unsatisfied, but I am determined to let those hungers drive me to Him, instead of trying to deny them or fill them with empty meals.
Which of these two tendencies do you relate to? Have you found yourself looking to the world to meet your desires? Or have you demonized your desires and devoted yourself to destroying them?