My Greatest Desire

Originally published Monday, 09 September 2013.

What do you desire most in life? What makes your heart skip a beat? What fills you with longing? What do you hunger for more than anything else?

David wrote in Psalm 27:4, "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple." When I read that verse, my heart is pierced through. Because, to be honest, that is not the one thing I ask from the Lord. It's not the one thing I seek after. And while I want to say that my greatest desire is to be in the presence of God, it's not reflected in how I live.

If I were to ask God for one thing, it's usually something temporary, something to make my life more comfortable and at ease. My desires and dreams focus on myself rather than on God. I don't hunger and thirst for him as David did because I'm too busy attempting to fill my longings with things of this world. I spend my time pinning my hopes and dreams, searching blogs and tweets for ideas, and checking social media to keep up to date on how others are attempting to fill their souls. And even when my desires are for good things, like success in ministry and loving my family, sometimes they become ultimate things, more important than my love for God.

But what if I lived as though God is the complete satisfaction of my soul? What if I lived on the sustenance of the Bread of Life rather than the food of this world that only leaves me hungry, longing for more? What if all I ever wanted was to be in the presence of Jesus?

The desire of Martha and Mary's hearts were laid bare when Jesus came to their home one day. Mary sat at his feet, soaking in his words and radiating in the glory of his presence. Her sister Martha, fretted, worried, and stressed about the details of providing food and drink for her guests. Martha, frustrated that Mary was not helping her, said to Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42

My own responses to daily life reflects my heart's greatest desire. Too often, I live like Martha, concerned about less important things. Yet I want to have a heart more like Mary who knew that feasting on the Word of Life was better than any meal she and Martha could make. I want to have a heart that longs to gaze on the beauty of the Lord rather than be distracted by the fading beauty of this world. I want to focus my heart on where Christ is, not on what's worldly and temporary  "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Colossians 3:1-2). I want more than anything to believe and live out this truth: "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you" (Psalm 63:3).

David wrote Psalm 27 in the midst of oppression by his enemies. Life wasn't easy. There were people who hated him, who rejected him, and who wanted to see him fail. But he knew that his heart's satisfaction and meaning came from being in the presence of God and no where else. He knew that God was his portion and delight. He knew that God alone was his rock and salvation. This is why he could say, "Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident" (v. 3).

When God is my greatest desire, it will not matter what other people think or say about me (Psalm 27:10). It will not matter whether I have a little or a lot to claim as my own (Philippians 4:12). It will not matter whether I am successful or a failure in the eyes of the world (1 Corinthians 1:8). And it will not matter if my world crumbles down around me (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Because if I have God as my greatest desire, I have everything I could ever want or need.

 "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26