Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you did not desire God? When you did not want to open your Bible. When you had no desire to pray. When you dreaded going to church. When the thought of doing anything spiritual was met with apathy and melancholy. No amount of Bible verses that were steadily streaming from your friend’s Facebook feed would sway your downcast spirit. If you have experienced any of this, you are not alone. In fact, you and I probably have more in common than you thought. But there is a remedy for this condition. And I want to share with you three things you must do when you don’t desire God
Most well known theologians, pastors and Biblical authors experienced this. In Psalm 43:5, we hear David speaking to his soul, saying: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? This condition of not desiring God plagues even the most spiritual among us.
1. Empty Yourself For The Sake Of Others. Most anxiety and apathy occurs because we are self-obsessed and self-absorbed. I have experienced this in my own life. When I care too much about who I am and how I can achieve something, I began to experience this besetting apathy. The quickest way to frustration is making the world about you. The minute we begin to lose ourselves in the service for other people, we experience a second wind so to speak. We were created by God to serve other people.
We are most like Jesus when we too like the murdered Messiah, lay down our life for the sake of the people in our life. But until you begin to live for the good of people in your life, you will experience constant misery. Some of the most miserable and discontent people who I have ever met were those who weren’t plugged in to a local church, were not actively sharing their faith and hoarded all of their time, possessions and resources for the service of self.
We are not desiring God because He is distant. We are not desiring God because we have distanced ourselves from Him.
2. Repent Of Your Sin To God And To One Another. John Piper wrote an amazing book entitled When I Don’t Desire God, which is what partly served as an inspiration for this post. In the book, Piper mentions the word sin over 400 times. I do believe that it is not a coincidence. Most of the time when we don’t desire God, it is because there is a sin that we have not repented of. We are nursing it and milking it and privately enjoying it’s deadly poison which is wrapped up in a veneer of pleasure and satisfaction. But its end is destruction. Every time.
So, we must do what the Bible teaches and confess our sin to one another (Js. 5:16). We can do so boldly and without any shame because the Bible promises that God, who is faithful and just, will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). Are you experiencing a dissatisfaction with Jesus and all things that are pertaining to a holy life? It might be because there is unconfessed sin in your life. Run to Jesus and He will forgive you and lift that burden off of your shoulders. You will be glad you did.
3. Stop Desiring God’s Presents And Start Desiring God’s Presence. As much as I love technology, I personally believe that cell phones have absolutely corrupted our ability to have conversations with other people. It’s getting almost ridiculous how many times people are on their phone while talking to me but assure me they are listening. I don’t buy it. In fact, I’m sure I am guilty of this as well. Sometimes, it’s not enough for another person to be in the same room with you. You want their undivided attention.
As ironic as it sounds, undivided attention has become a very rare commodity. We often don’t desire God because we want His gifts, more than the gift Giver. But how selfish is that? This is why we read in Psalm 16:11 that in Your presence there is fulness of joy. The Bible does not say that in Your presents, there is fulness of joy. If everything was taken away from you at this moment, would you still find joy in Jesus? The answer to that question will validate the authenticity of our Christianity. We must be like that man in Matthew 13:44, who finds the hidden treasure in a field and then proceeds to stop at nothing until he acquires that field. We too must fight for joy in Jesus. Because He is worth it.
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Question: What other reasons would you add why you don’t desire God?