Desire is endless. There are so many things in my life that I have wanted, yet when I obtained them, the satisfaction was fleeting, at best. So many times the thought has passed through my mind, If only I had this thing, I would be completely satisfied. How many times must that line of thinking prove to be untrue before I am able to completely root it out?
It would be easier if this cycle of desire and disappointment only applied to bad things. If this were so, I could focus on only desiring the good things, and then I could be satisfied. Instead, I have found that some of the most insidious temptations come clothed as angels of light. Even the things of God – the Bible, the Church, works of mercy and justice – can all too easily become idols. Anything that takes my eyes off of Jesus leads me astray, and that can include the very ministry that I believe he has given me to do!
It is easy to be deceived. When a person is addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography or ostentatious wealth, the problem – and its solution – is often clear: Get sober; stop watching; share your resources with others. But how about when my addiction is the approval of the church community, or the good feelings I get from feeding the hungry? What if the warm fuzzies I get from worship become a habit-forming dependency? How will I recognize when the good things in my life become a stumbling block in my walk of discipleship to Jesus?
For me, this is a matter of daily discernment. Rather than looking around at all those things I desire, all the good deeds I want to accomplish, I pray for the strength and humility to turn my heart to God in each moment: What would you have me do, Lord? How can I best embody your steadfast love and healing power? When I am truly present with him, awake to the beauty of the moment and the possibilities of love, I find the peace, joy and contentment I was looking for all along.