Unruly, Disorderly Affections

“One the one hand, what lusts of the flesh hijack your heart from God’s rule? On the other hand, what holy passions express your love for God?” Our desires are not a given, but a fundamental choice. Desires are most often unruly, disorderly, inordinate affections for XYZ, a good thing that I insanely need. Sometimes they are natural affections for xyz, made sane and orderly by subordination to passionate love for God that claims my heart, soul, mind, and might. Our desires are often idolatrous cravings to get good gifts (overthrowing or ignoring the Giver). Sometimes they are intense desires for the Giver Himself as supremely more important than whatever good gifts we might gain or lose from His hand. –David Powlison

“Our desires are not a given, but a fundamental choice.” What do you desire? What do you want, need, crave, or yearn for? Obviously not all desires are sinful and many are good. But, as Powlison states above, we can desire a good gift  too much. And then it overthrows God’s place in our hearts and affections. To put it plainly, that desire controls us, not God.

As I began to examine my own heart, the sight was less than pretty. Yet, I was surprised (well, sort of) to discover desires that don’t immediately jump to mind when one thinks of the “typical” lusts of the flesh. Here’s some examples…

  • When I keep quiet in meetings at work because I don’t want to say something that may appear stupid (even when I’m strongly encouraged to give my thoughts and insight). What am I desiring in that moment? What do I “feel” I need?
  • When I ignore the scale and eat a piece of chocolate. What am I yearning for? What desire is ruling me?
  • When I’m quiet around people I do not know (instead of just being myself) or people I feel are “cool”. What am I wanting from those people? What longing am I trying to fulfill?

In all of these (and many more) I am placing what I feel is most important (peoples opinions, people’s approval, satisfying my taste buds after a hard day) ahead of my God & King. I am saying that my desires must be fulfilled in some other way than through God. I want to glorify myself more than I want to glorify Him. I am looking at God and telling Him that He is not enough. He is not the most important and influential person in my life. Something (or someone) is more important and will satisfy this specific “need” better than He can/will.

What horrific arrogance! How grateful I am for undeserved, unmerited, abundant, and free grace. How grateful I am that He not only forgives my arrogance & idolatry, but He also gives me the power to change.

O Father, change my heart to desire You, Your will, and Your glory more than anything else. Guard my heart from idols and keep my affections firmly fixed upon You!

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