November 23, 2016
READ: 1 John 2:14-17
The world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see (v.16).
A pair of 5-year-old boys with a fascination for luxury cars decided to try to buy one—a real one. First, they used small sand spades to dig under the playground fence at the school they attended—burrowing each day until they made their escape. Once free, they walked more than a mile to a car showroom. There, the boys met a woman and told her they wanted to buy a Jaguar—with no money. She took them to the police, who promptly returned them to their parents.
The boys’ single-minded pursuit of what they wanted was unusual for their age. When they could have been playing on a swing or enjoying a game of tag, they were slaving away trying to get somewhere they knew they shouldn’t go. Many of us understand what it feels like to have a desire so strong that we’re compelled to ignore the limits of acceptable behavior.
The Bible advises us to guard ourselves against these types of longings. “The world offers only a craving for physical pleasure . . . for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions” (1 John 2:16). Not surprisingly, our “gotta have it” urges place us at odds with what God wants for us. He points us to the pursuit of holiness, but the world tempts us with gratification at any cost.
One day we’ll be free from the stress of battling our sinful desires. “This world is fading away, along with everything that people crave” (v.17). For now, however, we can prevail in the struggle through the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. With God’s help, we can reorient ourselves toward the good desires the Holy Spirit places in our hearts. Submitting to the Spirit means “we won’t be doing what [our] sinful nature craves” (Galatians 5:16).
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
365-day plan: Romans 12:1-21
Look up 2 Tim. 4:3 to see how following our own desires can affect a person’s understanding of sound doctrine.
What desires have you been wrestling with? How can you seek to be led by the Holy Spirit in dealing with negative desires?