SOURCE: Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 104-5.
Sometimes Our Sinful Desires May Be the Least of Our Worries!
It is important to emphasize the fact that idols can arise from good desires as well as wicked desires.
It is often not what we want that is the problem, but that we want it too much.
For example, it is not unreasonable for a man to want a passionate sexual relationship with his wife or for a mother to want to stay at home with a newborn baby. Nor is it wrong for an employer to want diligent workers or for a pastor to desire respect from his deacons. These are good desires, but if they turn into demands that must be met in order for us to be satisfied and fulfilled, they can lead to bitterness, resentment, or self-pity that can destroy a family, business, or church.
How can you discern when a good desire might be turning into a sinful demand? You can begin by prayerfully asking yourself “X-ray” questions that reveal the true condition of your heart.
- What am I preoccupied with? What is the first thing on my mind in the morning and the last thing on my mind at night?
- How would I answer the question: “If only ______, then I would be happy, fulfilled, and secure”?
- What do I want to preserve or to avoid at all costs?
- Where do I put my trust?
- What do I fear?
- When a certain desire is not met, do I feel frustration, anxiety, resentment, bitterness, anger, or depression?
- Is there something I desire so much that I am willing to disappoint or hurt others in order to have it?
What was the first thing on your mind this morning?
How about the last thing on your mind last night?
Is there a good desire in your life that’s beginning to becoming a recurring thought pattern for you?
As you consider this, remember the good news: God has ultimately satisfied that particular “good desire” through his Son. What remains is for us to trust and, through his grace, receive God’s eye-opening insight into the ways in which we are beginning to trust, fear, or dwell on something other than God himself. Spend time today in prayer to ask God to reveal areas of your life where you might be elevating a good desire into a sinful demand.