How Do Your Desires Fit with God's Will?

What do you desire? How can we know if our desires or good or if they are against God's will? When it comes to our desires, our goal is not to stop desiring, our hope is to crave a much better feast.
Aug 26, 2022
How Do Your Desires Fit with God's Will?

As people living in a fallen world, we know what it is to have desires. We experience physical pain, witness injustice, suffer under various trials and ache with loneliness and grief. Even when all is going relatively well, our minds imagine how wonderful it would be if we had just a tad more. We rightly long for the restoration of Eden, but regularly find ourselves living outside of our hopes and dreams. Most of the people I know desire good things:  a job, a spouse, healing, children, friends, ministry, and rest. The question we face on a daily basis is not whether or not we have desires, but how to discern when they drift from hopeful longings to become covetousness and entitled attitudes.

Covet means to inappropriately desire something, often something that belongs to someone else.

Gaining insight into the health of our desires is a bit like discerning whether or not the milk in the fridge has soured. Upon first glance, two cartons of milk may both appear fresh. However, as the milk is poured, one carton is proven fresh by its sweet smell and smooth pour. The other is shown to be sour by its rancid odor and clumpy flow.

In a similar way, the following four questions can help us discern if our desires have soured into the sin of covetousness.

1. Is What I Want Something That God Has Clearly Prohibited?

In the garden, Eve’s longing for the forbidden fruit was a covetous desire because God prohibited eating from that particular tree.

If we are setting our affections on an object or a person clearly outside of God’s will as revealed in the Bible, then we need to repent of the desire itself, even if we have not acted to obtain the object of our desire. Longing for a husband is a good desire. Longing for someone else’s husband is a covetous desire. By faith, we turn our hearts and minds from desires outside of God’s will for our lives.

2. Am I Willing to Use Any Means Necessary to Get What I Want?

While we may desire a good end, the method we use to gain what we want exposes the nature of our desire.

In Genesis, Sarah knew that God had promised a child to Abraham. She had a right longing for a child. However, her willingness to use Hagar to produce a child exposed that her desire had become excessive. Her longing grew impatient and she failed to believe in God’s ability to give Abraham a son through her womb.

If we are willing to use our energies, resources and talents in sinful ways to procure what we want, it is a sign that our desires have grown covetous in nature.

3. Why Do I Want What I Want? 

If we find that desires begin when we walk through a friend’s new home, hear of a wonderful vacation, or a witness a kindness shown by a spouse or friend, usually these are signs of envy. These desires usually come about because we compare our lives with someone else’s and incorrectly believe that the Lord has failed to be good to us.

The Israelites’ response to Samuel at the end of his life illustrates this principle. They wanted a king to rule them, not because it was God’s will or His timing, but because all the other nations had a king (1 Samuel 8:5). Eventually, Samuel warned them that they would cry out for relief from the king they chose instead of trusting the Lord’s provision.

If we seek to gain something simply because we’ve played the comparison game, then most likely we are coveting.

4. What Is My Attitude as I Wait?

If our attitude while we wait is full of complaining, bitterness, anger, or ingratitude then coveting is often at the heart of our struggle.

Paul urgently encourages the Thessalonians to, “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Our covetous desires choke out our heartfelt joy and thanksgiving in the Lord.

The Israelites demonstrated this attitude as they complained to Moses: “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3). They quickly forgot the Lord’s provision just two months after their miraculous exodus from Egypt. 

If we find ourselves impatient, unloving, or ungrateful as we wait, coveting in some area is usually at the heart of our problem.

What Do I Do with a Sour Desire?

When milk is sour we pour it down the sink and wash it away. What do we do with our soured desires? We confess them. 

  • We pour out our hearts to Christ,
  • Lean on His mercy,
  • Trust in His righteousness,
  • And ask Him to change our hearts.

He can take a heart of stone and turn it into a heart of flesh.  Surely, He can wash away our soured desires and replace them with fresh and life-giving longings. Our goal is not to stop desiring, our hope is to crave a much better feast.

Melissa Kruger serves as Women's Ministry Coordinator at Uptown Church in Charlotte, North Carolina and is the author of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World (Christian Focus, 2012). Her husband Mike is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary, and they have three children. You can follow her on Twitter @MelissaBKruger.

A Prayer to Humbly Align with God's Will


We pray for the heart position of humility. Humility in such a way that we do not cheapen our own worth or value within, but that we take the alignment that we are here for a greater purpose than just our own gain. We pray that You will highlight to us what it truly means to live a humble life, and that our own worth will be revealed by Your Light. It is only then that we may truly live in freedom and right standing, for we will hold our own value correctly. Lord, we welcome You to mold and secure our hearts in true humility by Your lead.

In Jesus' name, Amen


In Micah 6:8 You say, “O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Today we choose to walk humbly with You. We choose to live by Your Holy Spirit and to follow Your lead. Help us to hear You clearly, for we do not want to walk by pride or self-sufficiency, we want to walk with You.

In Jesus' name, Amen

(Excerpted from "3 Beautiful Prayers for Humility" by Cally Logan)

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your guidance. Forgive me for getting ahead of Your plans, and help me know when to stop and listen for Your direction. Your ways are perfect, Lord. Thank You for offering gentle grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. - Kristine Brown

(Excerpted from "15 Prayers for Guidance and Wisdom When You Need Direction from God")

Further Reading:

How Do We Know God's Will for Our Lives?

How Can We Completely Trust in God?

Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Thomas Ronveaux

LISTEN: Being Complete in Jesus (Understanding Matthew 5:21-48)

Hearing Jesus is a devotional journey through the gospels, where we explore the teachings of Jesus chapter by chapter. If you're seeking to live a life that reflects God's, this podcast is for you.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

WATCH: 10 Sins Christians Downplay (and Why They're So Destructive)

Stock Footage & Music Courtesy of Thumbnail by Getty Images

READ: 10 Sins That Often Go Overlooked in Christian Community


Christianity / Life / Christian Life / How Do Your Desires Fit with God's Will?