For one of my classes this past semester I had to take part in a program called Junior Achievement. This required for me to go to a kindergarten classroom for a semester and go over basic money sense and decision making skills with them. One of the weeks I was there we focused in on the differences between a need versus a want. After I taught the whole group lesson, I gave the students a worksheet activity in which they placed  stickers of different items under “needs” or “wants.” Some of the students used up all the stickers quickly. So I asked them draw in new items under the respective columns until the set time was up. As I was walking around and monitoring, I sat down next to one of the quieter girls in the class and asked her what she had drawn under the columns. She pointed to a drawing of a cross she had placed under the “wants” column and explained to me that it was symbolic of God. She told me how she wanted God in her life because He loved her and He helped her when she prayed. In that moment I had so many mixed emotions inside of me- a part of me felt overjoyed that this five year old girl had even thought to include Jesus in her activity. However, I also felt torn because I wanted to explain to her how He belonged under the “need” column, but in order for me to remain professional I just said, “good job, keep working.”

This little girl’s response kept playing over and over in my mind all day. I kept thinking about how God was something she put under “wants,” but I so badly wanted to share with her how He’s a need. How we need God in our lives because He’s what this whole thing is about. And that’s when it hit me…I knew Jesus was a need, but was I really wanting Him, was I desiring Him lately? And that question stuck with me for the next few days.

It’s one thing to need something, in a way it feels like we don’t have a choice. But it’s completely different to want something. The Lord loves us so much He allows us to choose to love Him, to desire Him. It’s not forced. The Bible constantly compares Jesus and us as a romantic relationship, so let’s look at it that way- if you were to be in a relationship and were forced to love the other person, would it be genuine? What makes love real is that it’s sincere and authentic. In the same way, because of the great love the Lord has for us, He allows us to choose. In order to want to love Him, we can’t just know we need Him, but we have to desire Him.

As our desire for Him grows, our perspective changes. We begin to want to spend more time with Him and as this grows, so does our intimacy with Him. I mean it’s the same if we were to look at a friendship or relationship we’re in. As you spend more time with someone, conversations become more intimate and real- that’s exactly what happens in our relationship with the Lord as we spend more time at His feet. But we have to desire that intimacy.

All these thoughts made me really evaluate and look at what my days had started to look like. I realized that the first think I did when I woke up and the last think I did before going to sleep was check my phone rather than spending time with Jesus. I looked at how I had been planning out my days, rather than planning my day out revolving around sitting at Jesus’ feet, I was planning out everything I needed to get done and then attempting to “fit in” time for Jesus. I obviously knew I needed Jesus in and for everything, but had to have a conversation with a five year old girl to ask myself if I had been desiring Him through my everyday decisions and schedule.

Around this time I looked into what scripture had to say about desiring Him and I came across Isaiah 26:9.  This is a chapter about trusting in God’s protection and this verse in the midst of all that proclaims how “[the] soul longs for Him, [the] spirit within [us] seeks [Him] diligently,” there is a longing and desire for Him. I would want to tell the world that that’s how I felt and also desired for the Lord, but the way I was spending my time and planning out my days would say otherwise. It felt like I was definitely talking more about the Lord than actually to Him. And that’s all it took- I entered into this season of guilt and let me tell you, the devil leaps at that. I started to question why I believed what I did, I felt dry. I mean, I knew what I believed and nothing could change that, but I needed my heart to be revived. And that’s exactly where Jesus met me. 

Jesus loves us so much “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord,” which we’re reminded of by Paul in the letter to the Romans. There is not a single thing in this world that can pull us away from the love of Jesus, not even ourselves. Even when you don’t feel loved, He still loves you. Trust me, that’s easy to say but in some seasons it’s really hard to comprehend. No matter how we feel about His love, it doesn’t change anything- it’s constant. But be cautious, I think for me what happened was I became numb to the cross. It’s almost as if what John wrote to the church in Ephesus became personal for me- it felt like “[I had] left [my] first love.” I had chosen the world and it’s distractions over my first love- Jesus. I know that sounds weird and crazy, but I couldn’t imagine a God that wouldn’t give His life up for me that I lost sight of how great of a sacrifice was made to promise me Hope. I had not been disciplined in my walk with the Lord and allowed the business of life to take the front seat. This caused me to not be filled by Him, it left me feeling dry. I had been attempting to pour into others, wanting them to desire Him more when I myself hadn’t been. So be cautious, be aware of the state of your heart. 

HOWEVER, Jesus being the loving Lord that He is never fails to call us back to Him, graciously with open arms- and that’s exactly what He did for me and continues to do on a daily basis. Even when we don’t desire Him, He never stops desiring us. He wants us to seek Him and run to Him. In this season I’ve learned just how important community is. I’ve experienced the difference it makes when you’re surrounded by brothers and sisters who care and love you because of their love for Jesus. Being able to experience even a tiny portion of that love reminds me of the greatness of the love of God. 

If you’re someone that has never experienced a kind of love that is unconditional and limitless, then I encourage you to get to know Jesus. It’s insane how He transforms your life once you realize how desperately you need Him. If you are a follower of Jesus we know we need Him. But do we want Him, do we desire Him? As we begin to spend more time rooted in Scripture, praying for His will to be done in our life and truly living our life seeking after His heart we begin to see transformation. We begin to see the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23) start to characterize us- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. And through these fruits in us, people begin to question why we do and say the things we do and we’re given opportunities to be able to point to the transforming love of Jesus. Like my good friend Francis Chan says in his book Crazy Love, “the point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His.”

So in everything you do, desire for Jesus to be at the center of it all because when all else fails, He’s all we have left. Isn’t He more than enough?

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