What do you desire? Plenty, am I right?
Desire, in and of itself, is not sinful, but not all desires are right desires. Often, it is when desire turns inward toward the self that our desires become false desires, and when we’re chasing down false desires it stands in the way of us seeking right desires.
Take, for example, Esau, who traded away his birthright for a bowl of stew to calm the desires of his hungry belly. Dude traded away the promises of God for lunch! Much later, he realises his error, but it is too late. The promises that were intended to be his, as first born, passed to his sneaky brother instead. We tend to look at Esau and think, What a dumbass! I would NEVER do that!
Think again. If you don’t see yourself in Esau, look harder. We ARE Esau, trading away right desires for false ones, exchanging God’s good promises for the momentary desires that reside within our hearts.
I’m not sure why we are so inclined to trust the desires of our heart – the Bible is clear that the heart of man is deceitful and wicked above all things, that our desires are in opposition to God’s. Follow your heart is horrible, horrible advice.
In his Commandments, God encompasses for us what right desires ought to look like – a guidebook, if you will, to bring our desires into alignment with His own – but this conversion of our desires is only and and ever begun, never fully completed in this life. Converting our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh is a lifelong process – we are ever in need of restraining the flesh – therefore meditating on the Commandments and their meaning ought to be a lifelong habit as well.
This is the last video (or maybe second-to-last, I can’t remember for sure) of the “Introduction to the Commandments” in this series; then we’ll be moving onto looking at the text of the Commandments and their meanings. Lots of insightful stuff, so stay tuned!
**If you haven’t seen the earlier videos, or you want to review them before moving on to the nitty gritty of the text, you can find them here.
3 thoughts on “Grappling – Desire…The Root of Sin”
“Desire, in and of itself, is not sinful, but not all desires are right desires.” This is one of the key differences between Buddhism and Christianity. To the Buddhist all desire is harmful and causes suffering–all desire must be ended to achieve enlightenment. But the Christian learns to love God wholeheartedly and to love each neighbor–desire for the good of others rather then merely for the good of self.
The point you make about Esau is good, but another side to his story is this: like Jesus Christ, Esau gave away what was his to one who did not deserve it, so that Jacob eventually received the blessing and approval of his father while Esau was rejected. J.
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Thank you, Salvage, for that marvellous insight!