What do you REALLY want?
Let’s say that you came to my counseling office because of some behavior, attitude or coping mechanism that was troubling you. The question you might pose to me if we were sitting together in a counseling room is “Why do I do this thing I do?”. I’m glad you asked! The answer is really quite simple, you do this thing you do because you want to. While we try to separate ourselves from our bad behaviors and habits, the truth is that we would not continue to do them unless there was some desire in us that was driving the behavior. Unless we deal with the desire that is driving a behavior, the behavior will not change.
In Proverbs 27:19 we read: “ As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” In Hebrew the heart was the center or deepest part of who we are. We live out of what is in our heart. For this reason the writer of Proverbs also wrote: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (4:23). Our real problem is not a behavior problem, but a heart problem.
You probably believe that if you could just STOP this particular behavior, life would be so much better for you. I agree that sinful behaviors and attitudes are obstacles to the experience of life that Jesus died to give us but simply dealing with the behavior without connecting it to the deeper desire that drives it will only lead you in a circle back to a similar struggle. The desire that drives your behavior is connected to a deeper desire. For instance, the desire for sex or pornography is really a desire for intimacy. The desire for alcohol or drugs is really a desire for peace and serenity. Our tendency to focus on getting rid of unwanted behavior is also tied to a lesser desire. The shallow desire is to be free of the burden of the unwanted behavior. The deeper desire is life, abundant life, life to the fullest! Often we have been so focused on the lesser desire that we are not even aware of the deeper desire.
Read John 5:1-9.
This is the story of a man who had a need. The NIV version of the Bible calls him an invalid (v5). You can identify with his condition. You have been battling this unwanted behavior for a long time and are powerless to overcome it. Just like the man you are surrounded by others who have no power to change themselves. These broken people were huddled around a pool of water that was said to have some magic healing waters. It almost sounds like a first century support group! The story was that every once in a while an angel would come down and stir the waters. The first one in after the waters were stirred would be healed. Into this very needy setting walks Jesus, the Son of God. He personally approaches the invalid (can you see Him personally approaching you right now?). He asks the invalid a very important question in verse 6. Do you want to get well? To me, that seems like a very dumb question! Of course he wanted to be well, that is why he had been lying by that pool for so long! Jesus simply wanted him to verbalize his desire. Unfortunately, the man could not immediately get in touch with his deepest desire. His answer to Jesus revealed that his desire was for someone to help him into the pool. The God of the universe was standing right in front of him and he just wanted someone to throw him into the water!
Let’s imagine that Jesus has just approached you and asked you the same question. He is asking you what you really want!
It would be a great idea to spend some time talking with God about this deeper desire and ask Him to help you stop indulging the more shallow desire as you pursue this deeper desire, the desire of your heart.