Perhaps the best place to start in desiring God is to admit that we often don’t desire God as much as we should. Quotes are from Freedom from the Incurable Addiction to Self Waiting for Heaven by Larry Crabb unless otherwise noted. Pastor Carey reminds us:
So, then how do we proceed? First, we need to be honest with where we are at! God’s Holy Spirit gives us discernment and wisdom to recognize the state of our hearts. Larry Crabb mentions that it’s a great mercy to be “exposed by God” pg. 104. We have to first recognize the problem in order to address it. The Book of James and 1 John are great places to dive deep into God’s Living Word! I would recommend that you consider reading through these books and making notes in your prayer/reading journal!
Starting Place: God’s Forgiveness and Acceptance of you
I have found that during times when I am hurting; I will desire other things in place of God because I want “immediate” relief or satisfaction. The wrong things (lesser desires) and relational problems that we rely on for self-satisfaction can then become “addictions. Larry reminds us:
God knows your suffering, every moment of it, every pain lodged in your soul. He grieves with you. But He does not excuse your self-protective way of relating. Nor does He understand it as a reasonable reaction to suffering. He does something better. He forgives you! pg 105
He goes to mention that we often “self-medicate” ourselves with various sinful habits or pleasures. He recommends that we recognize this and realize that we can “share so richly in the Father’s love for His Son that addictions lose their seemingly irresistible power” pg 106.
Recognize that Faith and Desire for God are part of a larger journey wherein we daily walk with God through our lives
Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and the others mentioned in the roll call of faith in Hebrews 11 have much to teach us about walking with God. That’s why I wrote numerous blogs about each of these giants of faith! These writings are available on this blog site. We aren’t alone nor are we ignorant concerning how to walk with and please God. God’s Word exists to encourage and correct us on this journey! Remember the role of God’s Holy Spirit. He’s the Paraclete or helper. For a good introduction to our Great Counselor:
Practical Considerations/Counsel Points (Larry Crabb) pgs. 107-108
These counsels are direct quotes (italics) with my commentary below.
- Be where you are! Live in your darkness, your confusion, your struggle, your failure. It’s your best chance for meeting God. He tends to meet us where we are, not where we pretend to be or wish we were. You long to be wanted–at your worst.
Our God is a gracious God! He already knows us and where we are at. The problem is that we want to pretend and hide. This goes all the way back to the Garden when Adam and Eve tried to hide from God! Being honest and open with God opens the door for true change and healing in our desires! God loves us so much more than we are capable of understanding!
2. Talk to someone else. Pray for someone to be with you, not to help, sympathize, correct, or scold. . . when you’re with someone, new thoughts come to mind; hope rekindles.
Friends and mentors are a blessing from God! However, it’s vital that we are honest, open, and willing to receive prayer and guidance. I recommend a trusted pastor or mature church member. We need to be held accountable–someone to ask us the hard questions and remind us to stay focused on Christ especially when the storms of life blow into us!
3. Keep talking with God, in conversational prayer. Own and express the ugly truth that you know what it means to enjoy evil. Don’t back away from that heinous reality by thinking of someone who failed more miserably.
Larry reminds us to consider Paul in context of Romans 7:19. I would recommend praying through Psalm 51. Psalm 51 is King David’s confession to God after his affair and murder. We need to own our sinfulness and hope/trust in God’s forgiving grace! It’s only when we realize how bad we really are that God’s grace becomes real and necessary! Paul understood this and endured many fiery trials and suffering! He endured because he realized just how much God had forgiven him and wanted to proclaim God’s truth!
4. Keep talking. You’ll know when it’s time to listen, when you’re desperate to know how God is responding to all you’ve said.
God’s Word will come alive through the indwelling Holy Spirit! Take time to reflect on your prayer journal! Write down the important truths that you read in scripture and what’s going on in your life. Months later you can then look back and consider what God has done!
5. Let Gospel truth burn deeply in a desperate, humbled soul.
Closing reflection points
You will not completely stop sinning. Repentance is required every day. But redemption, regeneration, and reconciliation-the wonder of grace makes it possible for the sinner and the saint you are to enjoy God’s love and spread it around.
Struggle as you must. Fail when you do. Repent quickly, celebrate grace, and keep on, resolute in your thirst to know the love of God more and more deeply.
May God richly bless you on your journey of faith! I write these words as a fellow pilgrim wanting to know and love God and others more richly with each passing day!