“When desire responds to grace it’s transformed.”
I heard that quote last night while watching an interview with David Bennett. David was once a gay activist who encountered the love of Jesus and his perspective and heart was forever changed. In the interview, he talked about something that has always piqued my interest. I’m paraphrasing here but it’s the idea that desires are available to us through a relationship with our Creator that transcend (or surpass) what we can ever fully understand or arrive at on our own. And, we need the love of Christ in order to comprehend it. There is something beyond, something that brings us more joy, something even better.
I feel like I talk about this quite a bit in this space, but I think it’s important because it was at that point in my own journey when everything shifted. I’m speaking about that season in my life when there was this tug of war match going on inside me. At the time, I could identify so strongly with the turmoil the Apostle Paul was feeling as he wrote the words he wrote in Romans 7 and the battle between the flesh and the spirit.
I then had a lightbulb moment during this struggle when I realized nothing could or would fully change unless my desires somehow shifted. The only obvious problem was…I didn’t desire to change. Duh! I even vocalized my lack of enthusiasm to the Lord. I remember being so angry and I came to Him kicking and screaming. However, I was also determined to bring my anger and questions to Him and not stomp off mad or turn a deaf ear. (I had already tried that technique for a decade and it hadn’t led to anyplace good.)
The only hope I was willing to cling to during this challenging season was this: I truly believed the God who created me deeply loved me and wanted His absolute best for me. There was something inside me that knew He held the picture of this perfect plan even if I couldn’t understand it fully or see it clearly. Placing my trust in the only thing I did believe about God changed how I began to pray. My prayer became “Lord make my desire for You stronger than my desire to drink. Lord, change my heart.”
My desire for a drink did not magically go away, but eventually there was this beautiful, profound moment in my story when His desire transcended my desire and I experienced a peace and a calm like I had never known before. It was the something beyond, something better that I had been searching for all my life. He did it!
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ” -Ephesians 3: 14-21