“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
When I was in high school, I had a friend who was prohibited from doing the things most high schoolers enjoy. He had a strict religious upbringing. As we got to know each other I learned that, in practice, he believed that anything materialistic was ungodly. There was no place for any music other than hymns, no place for games, television, vacations, or spending money on anything ‘fun.’
It can be tempting for us to interpret the commandment “Do not covet,” as, “You are not allowed to desire.” Many Christians have understood the Tenth Commandment this way, concluding that one of the goals of the Christian life is to shed all of our wants and desires.
If you’ve ever thought this way, you might find it liberating to know that the Bible teaches differently. Desire is not bad. What God finds important is what we desire and how we desire.
Psalm 37 helps us recognize that desire is perfectly acceptable when it is in alignment with God and His character. For example; there’s nothing wrong with wanting a new TV. The question is how does that desire fit into your life as a follower of Christ? Do you feel like you need the TV to have a better life? Do you think about and dream about the TV more than God and His Kingdom? Is it okay that some people have bigger TVs than you, or does this make you jealous? Would you be content if God never blessed you with a new TV? Remember, desire is not bad—it the focus of our desire that matters most.
Father, thank you for all of the different ways you continue to bless me. As I navigate this world, help my desire be for you and the things you desire. Amen