I was tired of struggling with the same sinful thoughts and behavior. One particular struggle kept rearing up its ugly head. Once God helped me see I was a glory-stealer, I realized how much I was committing that sin. I know we can’t have perfect motives, but I wanted to know what was at the root of this particular sin. Pride of course is at the root of all sin, but are there different desires that motivate certain sins?
When I asked God to help me understand, he prompted me to study the fall. I looked at the first three chapters of Genesis. I studied what God had provided Adam and Eve, Satan’s temptation and the result of the fall. When I evaluated it all, it seemed to me that God created us with four main desires. God meant for his creation to fulfill all of them.
What are they? A desire for significance, security, pleasure and worship. God created man in his image. He gave us dominion over the earth. Man was significant, set apart from the rest of creation. God created the beautiful Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve to live in security. The Garden of Eden had everything they needed for living; food, freedom from harm, harmony with the animals. The Garden of Eden was full of things that delighted them physically; beauty to behold, tasty food to tickle their taste buds, cool clean water to quench their thirst and pleasant weather to delight in. Adam and Eve were privileged to enjoy God’s physical company and experience his love, kindness, grace and mercy, etc. All of these benefits from God should have brought forth praise and thanksgiving to him.
God’s design was perfect for gratifying these desires of man. However, the fall corrupted how we satisfy these desires. Satan deceived Adam and Eve into questioning God’s character and their significance. Was it enough to be created in his image or did they need to be like him, knowing good and evil? Eve noticed that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil looked very juicy and quite tasty. She forgot about all the other fruit, just as good, at her disposal. She felt for the first time unsatisfied with what God provided for her and Adam. So, both she and Adam disobeyed God and ate of the fruit.
Indulging my longings apart from God and his creation always leads me to sin. That is what my sinful nature does, it looks for ways to relieve these desires through my own means which is motivated by my pride. I will do it my way. Predictably, I am unsuccessful at quenching these yearnings.
The gospel is God’s remedy for my and yours predicament. The gospel not only mends my relationship with God, but it grants me power over my sinful nature. I am a new person who can seek to fulfill these desires once again in the way God intended. I am significant in who I am in Christ. I have eternal security in Christ. I can find pleasure in my personal relationship with Christ and his creation. I don’t have to indulge my fleshly desires. Out of gratitude for all of God’s gifts to me, I desire to worship him with a pure heart.
Now, when I catch myself sinning, I can look to identify which desire I was trying to fulfill through my own means. Was I searching for significance? Was my security threatened? Did I let my body of sin take over? Who or what was I worshipping instead of God? Once I figure it out, then I can combat it by focusing on how the gospel fulfills that desire.
Are you struggling with a certain sinful pattern? Identify what desire you are trying to fulfill apart from God, then rehearse to yourself how the gospel can satisfy it for good.