‘Take up your cross and follow Me.’ Mark 8:34 NLT
God is a desire-creating, desire-satisfying God. Birds want to fly because God created them to do it. Dolphins want to swim because God created them with an instinct to swim. God doesn’t plant wrong desires in us. When Adam first saw Eve, he discovered he had a strong desire for her. Where did that desire come from? God. God actually delights in fulfilling your desires.
Now, some of your desires get distorted by sin and need to be cleansed, purified, and retrained. This is what Jesus refers to when He says, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.’ (Mark 8:34 NIV) We must say no to desires that would keep us from living in the flow of God’s Spirit. We must always be ready to sacrifice a lesser desire for the sake of living a greater life.
On the other hand, nothing makes a human being more vulnerable to temptation than a joyless life. If God removed all your desires you wouldn’t be human. A slab of cement doesn’t have to worry about weeds growing on it, but it will also never be a garden. God’s plan is that every time we experience an authentic desire—a God-implanted desire—we come to understand more deeply what a good God He is. We learn how He has wired us and what He wants us to do in life, and as a result we find ourselves loving Him more and more. That’s why the Bible says, ‘Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!’ (Psalm 34:8 NKJV)
SoulFood: Acts 3:11–5:42, Matt 8:10–17, Ps 109:16–31, Pro 15:23–26
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023