Every human soul born into this world is made in
the image and likeness of God and given by God desire, or love.
Desire inspires everything that we do – it motivates us to join with
the object of our desire so we might have satisfaction, peace,
resolution. And that desire is meant to lead us to God.
From the best of human loves and ambitions and
health, to the best that the world has to offer, a nice home, a car,
a boat, down to the smallest of pleasures, a bag of chips – it is
all about having desire and seeking to satisfy it.
The problem lies not in having desire or love but
that we are confused about how to satisfy it. We can be wrong about
what objects will bring about our hoped for peace; or we can love
too much the good things in this world that God has given us
(forgetting that they are passing); or we can try to put to death
our desire or love or turn it inward on ourselves only because it
seems to have caused us such pain in the past when we reached out.
Our desire, our love, gets bound up in all sorts
of ways in the world, and when the world or others fail us, we can
despair. We find our souls confused – our minds darkened and our
hearts hardened – and we forget or are afraid to look up for help.
Some Christians have undertaken as a spiritual
discipline some kind of fast during Lent [Matt 6:16f], a deliberate
giving up of some earthly pleasure. We see more clearly how our
desire, our love, can have a slavish quality to it. Christ will
give us grace, if we ask in faith, to free us from a slavish
relationship with the world. Sometimes we must give up something
completely, nail it to the cross, because it will not bring us peace
or because we cannot enjoy it without becoming a slave to it.
But desire wrongly directed, should not simply be
put to death, but rather redirected to its true ends – God and the
love of our neighbour. But how hard it is for all of us, when we
are not used to it, to read the Bible in private, to lift our hearts
in prayer privately to the One we cannot see, to give up even a
little time each week to worship God with others and learn, and to
engage in some simple act of kindness to our neighbour. We are held
To look once again upon the passion and death of
Jesus, to bring before our minds the patient and humble way of
Christ’s suffering even to his death on the Cross, is to be assured
that God’s true judgement of us is met with God’s mercy, that love
is about forgiveness and self sacrifice. To look upon Jesus’
resurrection is to be reassured that this is the character of
God’s love and that, no matter what the world or we throw at it,
this Love for us cannot be destroyed.
By this looking, our faith, our trust in God is
restored. Then, forgiven and with new hope, we begin in small ways
and are helped by God to redirect our desire, our love, towards its
true ends. We look up and find ourselves filled inwardly with
greater love and experience new life – the resurrected life that
alone is eternally satisfying.