Does God have desires? Or only requirements? My seven Mulled Words devotionals, including the one on Jesus, focus on human desire, which is often hard to separate from need. God certainly doesn’t need anything.

The prophet Hosea, speaking for God, said “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (6:6). When Jesus was criticized for eating with “tax collectors and sinners” he said “go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’ (Matthew 9:13).” The apostle Paul referred to “God our Savior who desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God’s one desire is love from all and to all.

Human desire gets a bad rap because we fail to keep it God-focused and loving. Breaking the first commandment, “You shall have no other Gods before me” and the tenth, “You shall not covet,” leads to breaking all those in between as desires multiply and become addictions.

Only Holy Spirit soul-fire burns away the myriad conflicting and convicting desires. An old hymn prays it well: “Eternal Spirit, God of truth, our contrite hearts inspire; kindle a flame of heavenly love, and feed the pure desire.”

God, unleash and stir up my desire for You. “My heart’s desire is to know you more, to be found in you and known as yours…” (from “Knowing You” by Graham Kendrick).

“For it is my deep desire/And my hope is eagerly/ That I not be put away to shame at all/ But that with perfect boldness/ Just as I’ve been tryin’ to do/ So his honor may be seen in my body/ So his honor may remain in my body/ So his honor may be seen/ If I live or if I die/ I may even have to die/ So his honor may be seen in me For to me to live is Jesus Christ/ And to die would be so much better.” For over 30 years these words of James Ward, my favorite singer, song-writer, pianist have reverberated in my mind and heart.

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