Everything in you may be saying, “But you don’t understand. I want to eat that whole box of chocolates (or sleep with my boyfriend, or let my anger really fly). That’s what really seems like life to me right now.” God says, “I know you do, but it’ll kill you in the end. What you think is life is not. That’s not the comfort (or the love, or the significance) you are seeking. You’ll wind up destroying yourself.” The commands of God become our tutor in the healing of our desire. We need the Law because our instrument is out of tune; we’re not clear all the time on what it is we really desire.
And so the first command comes first. God tells us to love him with all our hearts and all our souls, with all our minds and all our strength. It’s not a burden but a rescue, a trail out of the jungles of desire. When we don’t look for God as our true life, our desire for him spills over into our other desires, giving them an urgency they were never intended to bear. We become desperate, grasping and arranging and worrying over all kinds of things, and once we get them, they end up ruling us. It’s the difference between wants and needs. All we truly need is God. Prone to wander from him, we find we need all sorts of other things. Our desire becomes insatiable because we’ve taken our longing for the Infinite and placed it upon finite things. God saves us from the whole mimetic mess by turning our hearts back to him.
And that’s the memo.
By John Eldredge from The Journey of Desire