“The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.” A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
What images come to your mind when you hear the word “desire?” Our possession-laden, sexually-oriented culture influences our thinking around the whole notion of desire. We desire a lot of things, but do we desire God with a single-minded, panting desire?
Last week, I referenced Psalm 42:1: As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Do you pant for God? A.W. Tozer speaks of acute desire. What I take from these words like “acute” and “panting” is that our desire for God is to be all-consuming, not an add-on to an otherwise busy and complicated life.
Even within the church, we get so caught up in activities that we can become dislocated from the heart of Christ. Speaking about the church, Tozer says, “The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart.” I wonder if we miss the boat within churches by pasting on more activities instead of teaching people to be attentive to the longing of their hearts.
We are created to long for God, to find our rest and fulfillment in God. When our heart’s desire is God, our action flows from the inner well of deep love and devotion to God. Living with such desire, we can surrender control to God, embrace the rest that Jesus offers, and know the peace that Paul speaks of in Philippians 4:7: Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.