Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Words of Advent: Desire

Day eight of a daily meditation, a practice of free writing on words of Advent this season...

There's a large church here in the Seattle area that has set out the past several years to discover cultural opinions of Jesus.  Maybe you've seen it on the sides of Metro buses or on a billboard, simply stated: Jesus is ___.   As they say, everyone has an opinion on Jesus, so this is a creative project to compile those opinions in one place, with diverse and colorful results.

For many, Jesus isn't more than a historic figure.
Maybe even just a dead guy.
A revolutionary.
A prophet, but not God.
An amazing teacher.
A good and loving person.
A figure of folklore, myth or fairytale.
A religious prop.

For many others, he's so much more.
Fully human.
Fully God.
And a list of names more profound and comprehensive than space allows in this post.

But as a follower of Jesus, one word matters almost more than any others to me, the one I want on the forefront of my heart when I think of him: Desire.

One of my favorite theologians, A.W. Tozer, pointed me early on in life to a passionate pursuit of Christ.  I can't speak here on desire without a tribute to his own words, more eloquent and well-studied than my own. 

This, my friends, is what Advent is all about.

"Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking.

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

...there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, "O God, show me thy glory." They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God. 

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever."

~ A.W. Tozer, in The pursuit of God (excerpts from chapter one)

So, I ask myself tonight, Where is the heat of my desire aimed? 



  1. This word, desire, is so lacking from spiritual conversations -- in terms of this holy longing, this heat of our wanting him that Tozer describes. How I long for this!
    I've been studying lately this idea of counting it all as loss in comparison to the all-surpassing riches we have in Jesus, and I am wrestling in a good way with it. So, desire...what an apt word for me today, friend.
    O Come Let Us Adore Him, O Come Let Us Desire Him, Christ, the Lord!

    1. My friend, you have a lovely heart. How I long for this, too. At the end of this chapter I quoted from Tozer's book, he wrote a prayer that I've remembered since high school: "O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still." On my good days, I'm filled with longing for him, but most days, if I even have a longing to be filled with longing, it's sweet to my soul and makes me hunger for more...