Fueling the longing in our souls
Coconut cream pie. This past weekend I was longing for something sweet, so guess what became our dinner Saturday night? It took some work, too, from the crust to the meringue, but also the mental prep during the day. It sure was good going down. Afterwards we were still hungry, and the sugar shock was none too pleasant.
How many times do we seek to fuel the longing in our souls, but succumb to what turns out to be short-lived and sickeningly sweet?
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3 NAS
It is only one word in Greek that gets translated as “wrong motives” – kakos, also translated as bad, evil, sick, wretched.
Usually this word refers to evil speech. In the Old Testament this gets translated as “cursing” e.g. you shall not curse God, or the ruler of your people, or your parents, or the handicapped. Jesus when He was being interrogated by the Jews said, "If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” (John 18:23 NIV) How many times do we say something evil out of evil or selfish motivation?
The word can also be used to describe someone who is physically ill – people who were sick and needed healing, someone who was about to die.
But listen how Jesus ties these two concepts together, the physical and the spiritual. (I love how Jesus could explain all our actions and words as to their spiritual significance!) The Pharisees were blasting Him about keeping company with sinners: “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17 NIV)
Yes, we have pain and sickness and we celebrate Jesus our Healer, who can give temporary, partial relief in this life but complete and glorious restoration of our souls and bodies in the next. But there’s more to it: James points out that what we ask for reveals the sickness in our souls.
What does your soul long for, beyond transient cravings of these temporary bodies? Can you get beyond the pleasure-seeking to unearth your heart’s motive which is beneath?
The longing in our souls, the purpose for which we are created can only, always, and forever be found in God who loved us so much, that He would sacrifice His one and only Son, that He would make a way for us who are poisoned by sin from the inside out to be saved for eternal life by looking to Jesus, that His blood shed on the cross pays our debt, that His resurrection defeats death for any who would follow Him and give our lives to live for Him, now and forever, that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, He is LORD.
That is what your soul longs for.