Human Effort

Everything Depends on God's Mercy

The Object of Desire

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What do you desire? Do you want the attention of others? Do you want to be wealthy? Do you want to be powerful? How far are you willing to go to grab hold of these objects that you desire? For me personally I desire the comforts of this world in the form of pleasure and selfishness. Left in my natural state I would be manipulative of others to get them to serve my selfishness. I would not really care about others but would at the root only seek what they could do for me. In my natural state I am a self-absorbed, miserable, and evil. When I was 11 before this nature inside of me could have an opportunity to exert itself in full measure God spoke to me and asked me to embrace his son Jesus Christ. I was surprised at this encounter with God. I did not expect to meet him in such a way, but this encounter is as real as any interaction with any other person even if it was not in a physical way. I tested him and tried to negotiate with him however in the end submission to Jesus was the only way forward. Undone by a loving creator I died that day. The evil, selfish, fool that I was ready to become died that day. I am overwhelmingly grateful for God coming to me and seeking me out.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-4 ESV

The person I am today is not who I would have been if left to myself. Please know that I am still a sinner who does selfish things and I see glimpses of the old person in me, but my desire is changed. I do not embrace that selfishness. I see people in a different way that is compassionate for the hardship and difficulties that each of us have in this temporary world. Service to God and listening to his voice have become a priority. My desire is to grow closer to the God who made me. My desire is to point everyone around me to his glory.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5 ESV

A great way to know what you desire is to take a look at how you identify yourself. In this world today self-identity categorizes and places each of us into tribes and social groups. If I said I am a Georgia football fan then one might rightly understand that I desire for the University of Georgia to win a national title in football. If I said I am a Christian Democrat then I have categorized myself in such a way that one might safely assume that I desire to see Christian values like serving the poor advanced through the arm of government. If I say I am a gay Christian then one can assume that same sex relationships is a priority of my desires. If I say I am an American one might safely assume I seek to see America be a world power and champion freedom everywhere. However I self-identify then leads me to act and champion those ideas.

The problem with all those tribes and group no matter how noble is that they put Christ and His kingdom in second place. Christ is transformational and a new life takes form solely in him. I need to take on no other modifiers to the name of Christian because I have died to all those other ambitions. I am neither gay, heterosexual, democrat, nor republican. Someone might call me American but I would never accept the title of American Christian. Any self-identification attached to the front of Christian betrays the object of desire from Christ and brings into question the status of the sinful desires. Is the old nature there because of bad teaching or is the old nature there because God was not encountered to begin with?

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6 ESV

If you are modifying your Christian name with something of this world then self-examine and see if the old nature is still alive after all. While I live in this world with the passions and desires my view is eternal. Christians must understand that this life is temporary. Jesus put it this way…

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21 ESV

If politics, football, career, lust, or any other passion in this world is more important than being obedient to Christ then you are still a slave to sin. Repent! Cry out to God for his mercy and seek his kingdom no matter what it costs in this temporary world.

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:16-18 ESV

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