How Does a Follower of Jesus Re-Order Their Desires?

In a previous blog I wrote (Walking With A Limp) about the necessity of reordering disordered desire. I meant to get the second part to you the following week. I am sorry this is a bit late; my travel and other responsibilities have been heavy lately.

Nevertheless, here we go…

  • We begin to reorder our most honest desires by first coming to understand what they are…not what we think we should or ought to desire, but what ever is real. Don’t worry about God being offended or mad at you—he already knows what your real desires are. It us who sometimes can only find our structure of desire buried deep in our subconscious mind.
  • To do this you will need to take on Jesus-following spiritual practices such as solitude, silence or fasting, etc. Real desire often lands in our subconscious mind because our conscious mind can only handle so much—and our conscious minds is deluged these days will all manner of surface stimuli, often driving the deep things of life to the distant reaches of our being. To get in touch with this buried, but alive and real set of desires that sometimes tyrannize us, we need to shut off poking and prodding stimuli through fasting in various ways from noise. Then we can hear our hearts and God’s voice.
  • Jesus gave the world two great kingdom parables to help us make the decision to go on this journey or not: the parable of the “Pearl of Great Price” and the “Treasure Buried in the Field”. To both the pearl merchant and the real estate agent, Jesus put forward this question: do you find the Kingdom of God, and following me in it, to be so valuable that you are willing to re-organize the affairs of your life to get it?

Putting those three thoughts together, the common pattern for dealing with disordered desire goes like this: I make the decision to do so. I come to the realization that it is of utmost value to me. I then begin to make wise use of the spiritual practices that will help me cooperate with the grace of God and the power of the Spirit to do this. As Paul writes in 2 Cor. 3:18: we are being transformed [and] this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Through these practices I come to see what is most real about myself and begin to work on with God. Slowly and gently, learning to notice without being harshly judgmental on myself. Rather with childlike joy (Jesus: the kingdom is unto children…), I start the process of creating a rule of life that will put me regularly in the presence of God so that I can learn to do my life together with him.

– Todd Hunter