In Part 1, we talked about how our entire approach to church is about ourselves and our desires.
In Part 2, we talked about how dopamine is driving much of our approach to church.
Today, I want to give us a biblical view of desire.
The desires of our flesh are opposed to our desire for God’s best for our lives. At least when they’re driving everything. Scripture is full of warnings about our desires:
- “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2
- “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13
- “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:16
- “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:14
- “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” 2 Timothy 4:3
- “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
“But doesn’t the Bible say that God will give us the desires of our heart?” Yes, after it says “delight yourself in the Lord.”
We all want God to give us the desires of our hearts. We pray and ask God to give us what we want. When He does, we believe in Him. When He doesn’t, we doubt. That that’s not how it’s supposed to work. We’re supposed delight ourselves in the Lord. Make ourselves happy, or make merry over God. We’re not supposed to use God to get Him to give us the stuff we want that we think will make us happy.
Instead, we’re supposed to desire more and more of the Lord. “Love the Lord with all your heart…” The heart is where desire comes from. With all our desires, we are to love the Lord.
Unfortunately, many times in my life, the desires of my heart have been for myself and I have tried to use God to give them to me. That’s called exploitation. When you use someone or something else unfairly to get what you want from them, you’re exploiting them. God doesn’t exist to give you what you want. In fact, he doesn’t exists for our benefit. He didn’t create us because He needed us. He created us because He wanted us. God doesn’t lack or need anything. But, he wanted us. He wanted us to worship Him.
Instead, we worship ourselves and so many created things. Truth #1: Whatever consumes my attention and my affection is what I worship. For most of us, the thing that consumes our attention and affection is ourselves. We spend most of our waking hours concerned with getting what we want and making as much of life go our way as we possibly can. For others, we worship ideas, people and things. We spend our time obsessing over political ideologies, entertainers and technological devices.
Truth #2: We become like what we worship. “They worshipped worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” (2 Kings 17:5). Ironically, the way to boost your self-worth is not to focus more on yourself and what you want. That’s a surefire way to diminish it. At best, you’ll just become more like you, which is the original problem. At worst, you’ll spiral downward as you aren’t enough for you. But, worship God, the one who made you in His image and you’ll start to find the real worth with which your make created you.
So, allowing ourselves take the church, the body of Christ who’s primary purpose for existence is to worship God as one body and turning it into something we use to meet our personal desires and treat as a commodity that we consume is…exactly backwards. We exploit the church for the purposes of our own desires.
Enter, the Internet and the destructive force it has played in the church. Tomorrow.