The Evil One has basically two ploys. If he cannot get us to kill our hearts and bury our desire, then he is delighted to seduce our desire into a trap. Once we give over our desire for life to any object other than God, we become ensnared. Think of the phrase "She's a slave to fashion." We become slaves to any number of things, which at the outset we thought would serve us. In this light, repression of desire is a much less dangerous stage in the process. Addiction is far worse, for as Gerald May explains,

Our addictions are our own worst enemies. They enslave us with chains that are of our own making and yet that, paradoxically, are virtually beyond our control. Addiction also makes idolaters of us all, because it forces us to worship these objects of attachment, thereby preventing us from truly, freely loving God and one another. (Addiction and Grace)

Like the rich young ruler, we find we cannot give up our treasured possessions, whatever they may be, even though God himself is standing before us with a better offer. If you think his sad story is not also your own, you are out of touch with yourself. I remember standing in the East River several summers ago. It was a gorgeous summer evening, and I was about to enjoy some great fly-fishing. I had just begun to cast when God spoke to me. Put down the rod, he said. I'd like to spend some time with you. I was irritated. Now? I replied. You want to talk to me now? Why not later on the drive home? There's plenty of time in the car. Good grief. What an addict I am! Thus the father of lies turns our most precious treasure—our longing for God and for his kingdom—into our worst enemy. It is truly diabolical. We wind up serving our desire slavishly, or resenting it, or a little of both.

 

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