Thursday, December 5, 2019

Substitutes for Desire

You can work toward something as a substitute for desiring it. For instance, I think it would be easier for me to write a love poem or even to win someone's heart than to desire them romantically. I could do those things as substitutes for romantic love, and they might be perceived as romantic love, and do some of the work of romantic love, but I would have no such love.

So it can be with holiness. We work toward holiness; worry that we aren't working toward it (a substitute for working toward it); worry that by working toward it, we're bad people for being so ambitious (another substitute); worry that we'll never really be holy (yet another); labor in our minds over it -- but what we could be doing instead is desiring it.

"How should I trust?"

Pouring your heart out to God and asking what you need of him is good because it is a form of trust. But sometimes doing those things is not trusting, on a deeper level. You pour out your heart rather than listening, or you ask what you need or want instead of trusting that he will provide.

So you can ask, "God, how should I trust you in this situation?"

Father and Daughter

She grew up in her father's house. Her father had a corporation and she went to parties. She was beautiful and desirable.

One day, she asked her father for her inheritance. He said, "OK, but you only get half of what you ordinarily would have." She thought, fair's fair.

She went out into the world and associated with all kinds of people. She gave parties and sent her family photos.

But at some point, she fell in with a band of Christians. Soon, she was baptized, and gave all her money away, following Jesus.

But that life didn't suit her. She started to think it was only a phase. "Maybe I could get a job in my father's corporation," she thought. So she put on a long-sleeved T-shirt to cover her cross tattoo and took the bus, another, another bus back to her father's door.

He answered the door and said, "I'm not your father. God's your father." And he shut the door in her face.

Father and Son

He grew up with no father, only the address of where his father lived, and he was always trying to find a father. He knew that it would be unreasonable to expect his father to care for him, since he had abandoned him at birth and moved very far away. But he always hoped to find a father, and then forgot that hope and found himself offering himself up as a son to father-figure after father-figure, abusive men and men with no use for him.

Finally, with his mind and body broken, he thought, "Maybe I should go see my birth father." So he got to the door and his birth father let him in and they talked. And he wanted to stay the night, but his father said, "I'm not your father, son. You have to go. God is your father."