March 2, 2022
1 Peter 2:11-12 NIV
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Desire. That’s the real battle field isn’t it.
Behavior management is a lost cause. If whatever we struggle with gets to the level of our behavior, we have already lost.
Peter is trying to help us. It is urgent.
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
James clarifies how it works:
13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15
Any Apostle worth their salt knows the futility of trying to manage one’s behavior—especially Peter. Remember that time Jesus called him Satan? Or how about the time he cut off the guys’s ear? By nature, Peter was impulsive. He tended to say what he thought before he even thought it. That’s where desire lives. It’s one of three musketeers of the soul: Affections. Dispositions. Desires. It’s the “ADD” of the inner life. This is where the real discipleship of the Spirit happens. We are so stuck at the surface, trying to discipline our behavior when all the while the real work is in the deeper places—the transformation of our affections, dispositions and desires.
Our desires drag us away. Desire conceives and gives birth to sin. Sin grows up and when it does, it gives birth to death. It’s why Peter urges us. It is very urgent. I mean, how long has anger been growing in your life? How about jealousy or envy? How about lust? How about slander and gossip? Aren’t you ready to get out of the cess pool of feeling better about yourself because you have learned to feel bad about yourself. (i.e. guilt and shame) Self condemnation is not repentance. It is spiritual retardation.
Desire is not a bad thing. It is actually a very good thing. Imagine if desire could be harnessed in the other direction. That is the good news. By his indwelling presence in us, Jesus reverses the curse of sinful desire and turns it into the desires of the heart. This is where the other two musketeers, our affections and dispositions, come into play.
I know, now we have opened a can of worms. We will work on sorting them tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak of where we are headed.
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4.
Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Thank you for the marvelous and incredible way you take our broken selves and sinful desires and put us back together in complete wholeness, integrity and love. Sort my affections, dispositions and desires. I give. you my broken desires and would receive from you the restored desires of my heart. Holy Spirit, lead me in this path. I am weary of the internal struggle. Praying in Jesus’ name, Amen.
How are you processing this connection between our affections, dispositions and desires as opposed to fighting and managing behavior patterns?
For the Awakening,
P.S. JOIN US TONIGHT FOR ASH WEDNESDAY ONLINE
I want to invite you to join us for our upcoming gathering, A Night With New Room: Ash Wednesday. It will be online on Wednesday, March 2, 6:30pm CST and will run just over an hour. It will be available to see on demand following. We will be led by Steve Cordle (author of our Lent Resource The Jesus Shaped Life), Jessica Lagrone, Lo Alaman, Mark Swayze, and I will be there too. It is a free event but you will need to register to participate. Do that here.