Heb 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Yesterday I read a children's book to my preschoolers that God used to speak to my heart. The word "desire" had been on my heart all day and that morning I had started a collection of verses on desire. That same afternoon I grabbed a book called "The Rainbow Fish" to read to my kiddos. I faintly remembered my mom reading it to me as a child, but I couldn't remember the story very well. In class when I opened the book and started reading, I was immediately put off at the main character. The main fish, the most beautiful fish in the sea, was obsessed with his sparkling fins. He was the only one in the whole sea who had them and he was covered with them. They were his greatest delight and pride and joy. They were what he found his identity in. He believed that because he was beautiful, everyone would love him. But every interaction with other fish in the sea he was cold and arrogant and soon he lost all admiration around the other fish. Lonely and discouraged, he went to seek the council of an octopus (cue 20 preschoolers shouting "ohh no!" when we got to this point). The octopus told him that he needed to give away what was most precious to him. He needed to give his beautiful shiny fins to every fish who asked. He was horrified! How could he give HIS fins, HIS most prized possession? Right as he was going to argue with the octopus, the octopus vanished. As he swam away, a little fish swam up to him and asked for one of his fins, he thought about it for a minute and decided to give him one. As he gave one of his beautiful fins away, he noticed how happy it made him. The little fish swam away, delighted with his gift. The Rainbow Fish swam away feeling a peace that he hadn't felt before. Soon more and more fish came up asking for a fin and he couldn't turn them down. He gave and gave them away until he only had one left. The part of the book that most ministered to me was that it said that he had gone from hating the idea of giving them away to desiring to give them away.
What Rainbow Fish thought would bring him joy was being the most beautiful and powerful fish in the sea. But when he attained this, he was left empty and alone. His delight was found in himself and his desires and it lead to despair. When his desires shifted to others, he found real peace, love and fulfillment. Although this wasn't a Christian book, I can't help but see "Eternity in the hearts of man". I have a lot in common with the Rainbow Fish. The desires that I cling to and think will bring me satisfaction actually lead to selfish despair and helplessness. As I surrender what I believe is most precious to me, I find true delight and my true God given desires are exposed. I believe that one of the ways that Satan comes to "Steal, kill and destroy" is through our desires. If he can get our desires off of God and onto ourself, we are useless for building the Kingdom of God.
The enemy of our soul looks at us and this is his desire for our lives.
Exo 15:9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
But God is almighty and all perfect in power. With one breath He destroys the firey darts of the wicked.
Exo 15:10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Exo 15:13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
As my desires come and go, I can trust in His steadfast love and faithfulness. All of my other desires melt away when I look at the cross and see my Jesus who died and resurrected for me and for the world.
Father replace my desires for myself and my glory with desires for You and your glory. May my desire not be for this world, but for a better country, a heavenly one, whose builder and maker is You.