...unless we long unweariedly with heavenly desires, we needs must be entangled in earthly ones.
- Columbanus, Sermon VIII, Irish, 7th century
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
- Psalm 63.1
Jonathan Edwards knew that the heart and its affections are the core components of the soul, the “wellsprings” of all of life. What happens in our hearts determines how we live and what we become.
The heart is continuously active and engaging, seeking new objects on which to fix its affections, and new strength for those already deployed. So Columbanus’ warning about desire is important: desire is continuously active in our souls, and if we fail to desire the things of God, as He commands (Mt. 6.33; Col. 3.1-3), we will certainly desire the things of the earth, which may satisfy for a time, but can only ultimately disappoint.
A friend once told me, “You will do in your life only and exactly what you want to do, and nothing else.” Put another way, whatever we most desire, that we will most earnestly pursue. There is no zone of indifference in our souls. What’s there – in our heart, mind, and conscience – is what we want there. Either we will desire the Lord and seek Him early and earnestly, or we will desire things other than the Lord, which then take the place of the Lord and become idols.
The key is to train our hearts to seek the Lord, to thirst for Him, long for Him, cultivate the deepest desire for His Presence and glory, and pursue Him by every means, all our waking moments, beginning early in the day. The Lord has promised that we will find Him if we seek Him with all our heart (Jer. 29.11-13). If we set our desires on the Lord, He will honor such an act of faith and draw us into His Presence and glory. There, amid the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16.11), our desires will be rewarded, and we will no longer hanker after those things which drag us down to the dust.
But this is constant work. We must guard our heart with all diligence against any and every desire that will entangle us in earthly distractions, rather than engage us for the Lord and His Kingdom.
All who desire the Lord know that He alone can slake the thirst and satisfy the hunger in their soul. He is the only true oasis in the wasteland of a fallen world, where flows the lifespring of the water of life.
If we see the Lord as beautiful, good, and true; if we delight to be in His company and thrill for Him to reveal His will to us; if His Word is our daily food, and prayer our most refreshing ambience; and if doing the will of the Lord is the greatest delight of our hearts (Ps. 40.8), then we will certainly devote more time and attention to training our desires on Him.
Every unguarded desire will naturally tend toward earthly and fleshly things. The law of sin, which still operates in our souls, will bend us toward self-love, self-interest, and self-serving unless we turn to the Lord in prayer and cry out for His aid.
We must be continuously vigilant, constant in prayer, and determined to train our desires to seek the Lord and His righteousness as their highest reward and prize. If we do so, we shall not be disappointed, for the things of the Lord and the beauty of His visage will so fill us with a sense of His glory, that only joy and peace will fill us, and righteousness will issue in all our words and deeds.
1. What can you do to increase your desire for the Lord?
2. How can believers encourage one another in desiring the Lord?
Psalm 42.1-5 (Nettleton: Come Thou Fount)
As the deer pants for fresh water, let my soul, Lord pant for You!
Let my soul thirst as it ought to for the Savior, ever true!
Tears by day have been my portion, tears by night have been my food,
while my foes add to my sorrow, saying, “Where now is your God?”
Now I pour my soul out in me as these thoughts come to my mind.
And I long to once again be where true worship I might find.
Oh my soul, be not despairing! Hope in God, and praise His Name!
For the Lord, your burden bearing, will restore your peace again.
Lord, increase my desire for You! Help me to love You more, especially as I…
To earnestly seek the Lord, we must desire Him above all. To desire Him, we must see Him in His beauty, and draw near to Him in meditation and prayer. Our devotional study of Psalm 45, Glorious Vision: 28 Days in the Throne Room of the Lord, is available as a free PDF download by clicking here. Print it or load it onto your e-reader, and spend the next month seeing our fairest Lord Jesus in a clearer and more compelling light.
We pray that, if Crosfigell ministers to you, you’ll consider sharing with us in the financial support of our ministry. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Walker, p. 95.