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God, My Desire

Psalm 73:25–26 “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”
Desire is not a bad word. Desire is a good word. And the fact that humans desire is not evil in itself. God created us with desire and called it good. Our problem is that after the fall our depraved nature leads us to desire the wrong things; or even to desire the right things for the wrong reasons; or even to desire right things too much. Only the Spirit, through the word, drawing life out of the seed of regeneration within can set our desires straight. When the Spirit does this in the Christian’s life, this is what he does first and last: He sets the child of God’s desire upon God himself. In the wake of that, everything else slowly and surely gets desired in its proper place and way.
The Hebrew word for desire in Psalm 73:25 indicates the deepest most all-encompassing desire possible. A desire that, to have it, shows me that other desires I have had, have been partial at best, and even if satisfied never let me be fully satisfied.
That’s the kind of desire Asaph confesses he has for God, by the power of sovereign grace, and the new capacity of regeneration life. Asaph, child of the covenant though he was, had dabbled in other lesser things that drew out of him lesser desires. But God himself, set before Asaph in all his attributes, his persons, and his works, has captivated him on every level.
And fellow regenerated people know why. This is the being who is so powerful he created all this world and upholds it every moment. He is the God who sovereignly redeems, planting his own life in the hearts of his own, creating a new human race of individual people who will all fit together into one body. He is the God who sovereignly determines opposition to his own purposes and defeats it before the wondering eyes of the objects of his eternal love. This is the being who loves so deeply, his purpose was to be overtaken by his enemies momentarily to show his love; never the victim! Who is so just he created Egypt and Sheba to be given in pure justice so that his love could be more fully manifest. This is a being who is all of this personally. He is not a force, not a blind power. And not merely a feeling we have, or experience in our minds. He is a person. Long after Asaph, Augustine famously said of this God, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
When my desires are set on him, they are directed home. And when they find him fully, they come home. Heaven can be spelled with three letters, G.O.D. Heaven is not endless chocolate pies and football, it’s him. He is our portion, our inheritance, forever! In heaven, he gives us the greatest gift he could think to give us, himself.
Do your desires skew to the intellectual because of who God made you? His entire infinite mind is your holy playground there. Did things happen in your life so that your desires skew toward reaching for the calm to your fears? The security of Father’s embrace overwhelms you with peace there. Are you broken so that intimacy and fellowship are hard for you? His love so pure and powerful breaks through and takes you out of the prison and to himself for joy. Do you feel you never fully fit in? In Christ, he is preparing a place for you where all he has created you to be will be fully used without sin in a fully functioning garden city where you will do all to his glory, in fellowship with him and under his everlasting smile.
Now come back down to earth. What do you desire now? You will have him in heaven, fully, to the eternal satisfaction of your soul. What do you desire until then? Isn’t it ultimately the same thing; as much as is possible in this life?
God by giving me new life allows me to have a taste of heaven on earth. This is the joy of being a Christian. I can live in this world with all its secondary desires and hold them in their place. They won’t satisfy me. I have him on earth. And their place now used properly is even to help me have a taste of him through them.
All the joys of this life were never intended to usurp God’s place as the ultimate object of desire. Our sin is that we are constantly falling into the temptation to make secondary desires the ultimate desire. As a man said once, when we do that, we lose both the first thing, God and the secondary things. We give them a place in our lives they were not created to have. But if we make the ultimate thing, God, we get the secondary things too. Used properly, in and through them we can even have another taste of him.
Eat your next steak that way; I guarantee you it will transform everything about it. You will really mean it when you thank him for it. You will really mean it when you say, “I don’t need it to be happy. But if you give it to me, I will receive it as a good gift from thy hand, and because it’s from thy hand, I will delight in its right place. And if it is thy will I don’t have it, the lack of it can’t take thee away from me.
You hear it all the time, “Be careful! It’s a sex-saturated culture you are growing up in,” and you need to hear it, and I do too. But do you know why it is that way? Do you know why in my lifetime and yours the culture has given itself over like a pack of animals to lust of every kind and sort? It’s because this culture has rejected the ultimate thing. Sex was created by God to be a picture of the intimacy of his covenant. A picture of it.
And the people of this culture, who once had him a whole lot more, the ultimate thing, don’t anymore. Something has to fill the void. Giving up the ultimate thing they have gone after its picture. And they keep trying to make it give them what only the ultimate thing can give them, but it only leads them to hell. “Maybe more and more of it; maybe more deviant and more perverted that will do it. That will satisfy the restless heart.”
It is only you who can get it straight. Only you can use it and enjoy it as he tells you to, and find even a taste of the delight of him in it. Here is the antithesis, children of the covenant of grace! I know there will be a battle for it in your heart and soul. You have an old man in this life who doesn’t desire God, believes the lie that the apple is more fulfilling than the walking and talking. But see if he will not be the satisfaction of your soul, now and fully in the day our inheritance comes home to us, and God receives us to his own right hand, where streams of pleasure ever flow, and countless joys abide.