I stood line line for what seemed like hours, but my friends and I REALLY wanted tickets to this concert. I mean we really did! We wanted them so bad that standing outside for hours, missing other events, and even getting a little hungry didn’t stop us from doing what we had to do to get those tickets! And we did and we loved the show!
It really is amazing what price we humans are willing to pay to get what we really want. We humans have some interesting priorities. Did you know that we spend about 17 BILLION dollars a year on pet food in Europe and the US? Did you know we spend 8 BILLION dollars a year on cosmetics in the US, and the Fastest growing segment of the cosmetics industry is for MALES? We are a human race that is consumed by what we desire.
And, by the way, desire isn’t bad. Not at all. Desire is good. Desire is a gift of God to pull us towards Him. But only if our desire is shaped, disciplined, and harnessed to do that. And that, my dearest, is where the trouble comes! The truth is, tell me what you desire and I can tell you who you are! If our desires are never questioned, molded, matured, or transformed, our desires will quickly become our masters and reduce our lives to only seeking to fulfill them.
Look at our Gospel Lesson today in Luke 6:17-23:
At that time, Jesus stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on His disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.”
The Lord Jesus is standing on a level place and there was a huge crowd seeking to touch Him. Why? Because “power” was coming from Him and healing all who touched Him. And these folks needed healing. Some were physically ill, but others had spiritual illnesses that they longed to be freed from and restored to wholeness. In fact, these ill people wanted, desired, to be healed so much that they pressed in on the Lord for the chance to be made well! And the Lord healed them. Their powerful desire coupled with debilitating illness combined with the Presence of Jesus all cooperated to open the eyes of those who were ill to seek their only salvation in Jesus. Do you see something important here?
It is the combination of need, desire, and opportunity that mix together to inform and shape our desires into what they can become. But ONLY when we seek our healing in Christ! It is when our need and desire is humbly awake to our singular need for Jesus and our action to move toward Him that disciplines our desire for wholeness and channels our desire in a healthy way. When our desires are turned inward or seek fulfillment elsewhere outside of Christ, they keep us sick, unfulfilled, and enslaved to a never satisfied hunger. But when our desire is directed toward Christ, then the desire is shaped and matured to remain a servant to our souls rather than an unyielding taskmaster!
Today, where are your desires taking you? Are they taking you towards Christ or away from Him? What treasures are ours in the Faith to see all this wisdom given to us to teach our desires, shape our desires, instruct our desires, to seek Him for our wholeness and healing. Blessed Augustine was right when he declared “Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You.” When we see all our desires as an ultimate desire for God, then we are on our way to be Orthodox on Purpose.