I’m heartbroken. The church I grew up in is going through yet another split, families and staff leaving or let go. Relationships shattered. The body of Christ in pieces. Sheep left grieving over a divided flock. I love this church, the people still in it and those who used to be there.
One time, my normally-passive older son, gave his younger brother what he thought was “fair warning” and then punched him in the face. Something about Legos.
I confess. Multiple times a day, I impulsively check my book’s rating on Amazon. Unfortunately getting published won’t fulfill all of my dreams. Somebody else’s book is always hitting the best seller list over mine.
We all want more.
The conflict, comparison, and discontentment that results are a product of misplaced desire.
Because they refused to enter the Promised Land, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. God miraculously provided manna from heaven every day. It wasn’t enough. They craved meat from Egypt. They grumbled and complained. They desired what God had not provided. (Numbers 11)
The Levites were set apart by the Lord to serve in and guard the tabernacle instead of going to war. They ministered before the congregation, but that wasn’t enough for some of them. They desired the priesthood and confronted Moses and Aaron. And the Lord caused the ground the swallow them up. (Numbers 16)
Even Aaron and Miriam fell prey to desire: “Has the Lord indeed only spoken through Moses? Has he not spoke through us also?” And the Lord struck Miriam with leprosy for seven days. (Numbers 12:1-16)
“It’s a terrifying reality,” as I heard a pastor recently say, “that people can believe in God, and yet still love themselves more.”
Misplaced desires will ruin you and those around you. Misplaced desire ruins families, marriages, and churches. It causes fights, divisions, and quarrels.
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote to the Israelite believers scattered among the nations, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.” (James 4:1-2)
The problem is that misplaced desires is something we ALL struggle with, from those living in poverty to the most wealthy, from the lowly to the most powerful. Every person thinks of themselves first. Without the redeeming work of the Holy Spirit transforming our hearts day by day, we are destined to be swallowed up by our desires, as the ground swallowed up those Levites.
I often have to ask myself why I want The Marvelous Mud House to be a bestseller. Is it because I want His glory or my own? I need the message of contentment in the story as much as anyone else.
Moses was the humblest man alive because he knew that nothing here on earth compared to the glory of God. The only true place that we can put our desires is on our good shepherd. Only the good shepherd can lead and fulfill his sheep. Even when they are broken and hurting, biting each other and bleeding. Our shepherd, the Lord, will continue to guide, lead, protect, discipline, and comfort us, when we place our desires at his feet.
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken."