Being volitional, choosing beings, we have the power to go after what we desire. It’s how God made us to choose, except He wants us to choose good over evil, His will over the devils. God wants us to choose Him. Want and desire without guidance from God leads into a deep abyss.
Because we have the power to choose, it’s necessary to discern between good and evil and then to avoid the evil. Otherwise we are left to stumbling over whatever comes upon us on life’s path. If we choose evil, we will bring trouble to our own soul. Wanting and desiring God will lead to receiving eternal rewards.
Want and desire can lead to envy. When not careful, the eye becomes the guide causing us to want what others have. “17 Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day” (Pro. 23:17). We can envy cars, looks, jobs, houses, spouses, and the myriad of gadgets. Famous and glamorous people are put on pedestals because we see something in them we want. God cares about this and warns, “Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them” (Pro. 24:1). Envy will lead to unhappiness and ruin. Out of envy, Jesus was crucified (Mt. 27;18). Helmut Schoeck wrote “envy is a universal drive that ranges from a spiteful Schadenfreude (malicious glee at another’s misfortune) to horrible acts of mutilation and murder for no other reason than that the perpetrator felt belittled by the accomplishments of the victim.”1 From envy, men will do all sorts of evil. The greatest consequence is when one turns away from God. What we desire might be dressed in glamour, and surrounded by gold and silver, but do envy what is evil.
In the pursuit of wealth, men will compromise their most precious ideals.
“9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Tim. 6:9,10).
It is best to stay afar, and learn from their troubles. God forbid that we should want and desire what would ruin our place with Him. The blessed man is the one who pursues something better.
Seek God and learn contentment. “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death” (Pro. 10:2). There is nothing innately evil about possessions, but they will lead to ruin when God’s righteousness is not first priority. The Christian sees the big picture how life is more than riches. It’s like a vapor that comes and goes quickly when compared to eternity (Jas. 4:14). And so we seek to please God. “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,” (1 Tim. 6:6). Seeking God’s righteousness and seeking to grow in godliness has promise for this life and for the next (1 Tim. 4:8).
God made us in His image over all the rest of His creation. He gave us free will so that we might seek, love and glorify Him for His goodness. Money and riches have their allure, but they do not last. A man cannot take his riches with Him. Jesus said, “be rich towards God and lay up riches in heaven.”
We all want and desire certain things, but the wanting and desiring have caused many to wander away from the Faith. Jesus said that many of our troubles would be remedied if we would “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33). So don’t love or envy the world. Want nothing more than to be right with God. To each soul of man there should be no greater desire than to know God and to do whatever is pleasing to Him.
The Psalmist wrote,
“129 Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. 131 I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments.” (Psalm 119:129,130,131).
1. Quoted from “The Two Faces of Envy”