The desire in our heart urging for the possessions from our thoughts is what leads to our spiritual triumph or failure. Humans have the nature within, yarning to consume. Good desires leads to spiritual consumption while the bad one tempts and pressures in to devious thoughts and deeds.
In the Gospel of Luke, we find an exemplary story of Zacchaeus, who was the chief tax collector and a wealthy man. He had a greatest desire of knowing Lord Jesus for he would see his presence. His desire to see HIM was immense but unfortunate to him that he was too short to see over the crowd gathered; so, he climbed up into a sycamore tree.
Zacchaeus desire to see Him was of value for Lord Jesus to notice him. Out of all the hundreds, if not thousands of people, He spots Zacchaeus and He calls out to him. “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Zacchaeus’ came down from the tree right away and welcomed Lord Jesus in his home. Others within the crowd and around HIM were not about Lord Jesus chose to visit Zacchaeus, since tax collectors who worked for the Roman government, were considered traitors by their fellow Jewish people and so, they consider him a sinner. (Luke 19:5)
It seemed that they had the desire and thoughts as similar; only to find out that Lord Jesus spotted Zacchaeus but to blunt to understand His reasons. Then Zacchaeus promised vividly the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Luke 19:8)
Whether we are rich or poor, we need to desire Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him. Father Anthony Coniaris of the Saint Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in his sermon on “The Importance of Desire” says, “There is more evidence that Lord Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caeser ever lived, or that Alexander the Great died at the age of 33. Yet, many accept the scant evidence of the latter and reject the mountain of evidence for Lord Jesus. Thus, the trouble is not with the evidence but with the desire. They don’t want to believe, thus they refuse to accept the evidence. We don’t want to believe because if we do then Lord Jesus makes demands upon us: “Do this, don’t do that.” And we don’t want to be accountable and responsible to Lord Jesus. We don’t want to feel guilty.” (The Importance of Desire, “Message from Sunday Gospels volume.1, page 119)
God created humans in His image and likeness and thus desire is entrenched within us. However, ours is different from that of animals or other creatures. We are also endowed with freewill to choose to direct that desire towards God or towards something else. God respects our freedom. But where we direct our desire still has implications. (Genesis1:26)
Father Coniaris continues, “Jesus said to the Paralytic (John 5:6), “Do you want to be made well?” Seneca said, “It is part of the cure to wish to be cured.” Research shows that patients undergoing surgery are more likely to heal faster if they have expectant faith and desire to get well. The lesson is that we do what we really want to do. If we don’t know how, we learn. If we don’t have time, we make time. No obstacle can stand in the way if there is a real inner desire. That includes coming to church, finding time for prayer, attending bible study, etc.”
Furthermore, he adds, “Most of us have desire but the problem is we have too many desires. We desire a new dress, a new car, a new TV, smart phone or laptop. The desire for God is there, to be sure, but it is buried beneath countless other desires. The other problem is that the desires we have are for the wrong things, sinful things. The ungodly desires are called the passions by the Church Fathers. They include pride, lust, envy, greed, anger. Therefore, we need to prioritize our desires. Lord Jesus have said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful.” (Luke10:42)
Now days, people are provoked by evil desires to seek what is not theirs, attain material prosperity and worldly happiness; also cradling dreadful desires in themselves and within others.
But, by protecting our self from evil desires; we must live our lives in a way that pleases God; Of course, some people may not differentiate the good from bad one or realize that it is a sin; but it is of the essence, “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,.” (2 Peter 1: 3)
It is vital to remember we all necessities salvation as we are sinners like Zacchaeus. We are all short of stature spiritually in our relationship with God and often to other people. We need to acknowledge God, His Kingdom, His love, His forgiveness, His peace. When the Lord Jesus becomes our first and greatest desire in life, then all of the other desires in life fall in their proper place/order/. “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13).
When Lord Jesus sees us up in our prideful sycamore tree, He will call us to be humble and come down and to change our life. And when our desire has its fulfillment in Him, then Jesus will say to us: “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” We are lost in our riches and our sins but we are saved by Him who seeks us, when we desire to seek Him. Amen!
Source: “What do you desire” by the Saint George Greek Orthodox Church