From our experience, we know that God moves people’s hearts through their desires. C.S. Lewis in his famous apologetic argument, makes the case that our soulful and longing desire for fulfilment points us to the existence of God:
If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.
Even in the Bible, the scriptures say in Philippians 2:13:
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.
God speaks through our desires. We often call these desires, “calling”, but really they are ambitions and hopes that we have. Our desires may indeed come from God. God uses all sorts of desires to move men to glorify Him and seek Him, like the desire to get married.
But we ought to be weary of accepting the Disney motto “follow your heart“, because not only is the heart deceitful above all things, but also because not all our desires come from God. Certainly the strong desires to commit sin aren’t from God. Most Christians can grasp this idea.
We also need to be careful when our desires dress themselves as spiritual desires. A big hinderance against people going on the mission, is not a lack of desires, but other distracting desires that look spiritual or good.
Jacob Taube, in his book Send Me I’ll Go, writes:
…one of the greatest reservations young believers have about going into missions is that they don’t desire such a life as much as they desire to work in business or live in America or some other thing. They see all their not-overly-evil desires through theological lenses. They want to start a dance ministry because they think the Holy Spirit has given them that desire. They plan to become doctors because they feel they can’t escape that passion!
While passions for dance and medicine are not evil, and in many cases they produce good things, they do distract us from making God’s desires center in our lives. And one of God’s greatest desires is this: that we go make disciples of all nations.
Our desires aren’t all evil, so the question we should ask isn’t whether we should listen to our desires at all, but rather which desires really matter the most. As disciples, God’s desire for the world should be the most important. We should change our thinking from thinking about how to fulfil our desires. Instead we should strive to make God’s desires central and controlling. Chasing God’s desire doesn’t preclude us from leading a dance ministry or becoming doctors, but it will make our lives look very different.
Let’s strive to change our thinking and to live out Romans 12:1-2. And let us even consider that sacrificing our gifts, abilities and desires may glorify God more than us chasing them.