Sunday, March 13, 2011

Argument From Desire

KPC-Thirsting for God

It was a great privilege to preach at Klang Presbyterian Church (English service) at 11 am today on the topic of Thirsting After God based on Psalm 63. I get the chance to refine the sermon further (for the third time) by incorporating some thoughts on Buddhist views about desire, attachment and suffering;
In Buddhism desire is considered to be the problem of humanity. Desire drives us to attachment and binds us to suffering. Since desire itself is the problem, the solution is to get rid of desire and attain Nirvana. But in order to get rid of desire, you must have the desire to get rid of desire. It seems you need the problem in order to get the solution.

But for the Christian, desire is not a bad thing in itself. The problem is when we desire lesser goods more than a greater Good. For example when we love money more than our family, this is wrong because our family is more valuable, a higher good compared to money. We have sacrificed a greater good for a lesser good. And when we desire anything in the world – be it work, ministry, family, career, ambition (things that are good in themselves) – when we desire them more than God, it becomes a problem. It becomes idol worship. That thing has become our true source of satisfaction and security. It is functionally our god, no matter what we say we believe.

So the solution is not to get rid of desire per se (you can’t do it even if you try). The solution is to have our love replaced and captivated by the Supreme Good – that is God Himself. Only a greater desire awakened by the Holy Spirit can expel our attachment to worldly things. Every day, we are faced with these questions: What is your deepest desire? What is your true source of satisfaction? What gives you courage to face the future? Denial of worldly pleasures alone is not enough. We need to have our desires transformed, redirected and fulfilled in what is ultimately satisfying and most glorious – in all that God is for us in Christ.
...the dynamics of hidden idols in our heart (hats off to Tim Keller's Countefeit Gods), explaining further the powerful Argument from Desire for the existence of God....

According to C.S. Lewis, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy (this longing)… Probably, earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing." Perhaps these yearnings for meaning, relationship and purpose in our heart are clues and hints that point us to the God who truly satisfies.

But some may say: “Well, just because I feel the desire for “fried ice cream” doesn’t mean that I will get it. Just because we want something doesn’t mean it exists.” But doesn’t the appetite for food in us mean that food exists somewhere? Isn’t it true that our innate desires correspond to real objects that can satisfy them, such as sexual desire (corresponding to sex), physical hunger (corresponding to food), tiredness (corresponds to sleep) and relational desires (corresponding to friendship)? And we have a longing that no amount or quality of food, sex, friendship or success in this world can fulfill. That is a powerful clue that the vacuum in our hearts is God-shaped and only a relationship with the infinite God can make it whole again. If our hunger points to food and our thirst points to water, could our desire for something beyond this world be a clue to something else? Perhaps we are made for another world beyond this material world that we can see.

And this meaningful song by Chris Rice called “Thirsty”...

I’m so thirsty, I can feel it

Burning through the furthest corners of my soul

Deep desire, can’t describe this

Nameless urge that drives me somewhere

Though I don’t know where to go

Seems I’ve heard about a River from someone who’s been

And they tell me once you reach it, oh, you’ll never thirst again

So I have to find the River, somehow my life depends on the River

Holy River, I’m so thirsty

Other waters I’ve been drinkin’

But they always leave me empty like before

Satisfaction, all I’m askin’

Could I really feel this thirsty if there weren’t something more?

And I’ve heard about a River from someone who’s been

And they tell me once you reach it, oh, you’ll never thirst again

So I have to find the River, somehow my life depends on the River

Holy River, I’m so thirsty

I’m on the shore now of the wildest River

And I kneel and beg for mercy from the sky

But no one answers, I’ve gotta take my chances

‘Cause something deep inside me’s cryin’

"This is why you are alive!"

So I plunge into the River with all that I am

Praying this will be the River where I’ll never thirst again

I’m abandoned to the River

And now my life depends on the River

Holy River, I’m so thirsty

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