My 6 year old son is currently enjoying reading Harry Potter. In this book there is a mirror with the inscription (written backwards) ‘I show not your face but your hearts desire’. (Hence Erised – desire backwards)
After having read about this, Reuben turned to me and asked what my heart’s desire was.
My desires do not run alongside his (a house made of sweets that keeps replenishing after you’ve eaten a bit), but it really got me thinking. In a world where everything is take, take, take, or go on, treat yourself, we really need to fight to make sure our desires are the right ones.
In the New Testament, we meet King Herod who had his stepdaughter Salome dance during a feast. He and his guests were so delighted with her entertainment that it prompted him to offer her whatever she wanted.
“Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom” Mark 6:23
Sadly, the girl listened to her mother, a woman reprimanded by John the Baptist (cousin to Jesus). Her mother instructed her to ask for John’s head. How evil this woman was that the deepest desire of her heart was the death of someone else!
We have the exact opposite of this when we look to the Old Testament and King Solomon. God, the one person above Solomon in the world’s eyes, was giving him the option to ask for whatever he wanted.
“God appeared to Solomon , and said to him, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?'” 2Chron 1v7
Solomon was a new king, and had seen his father reign over a land constantly at war and at risk from enemies. There were so many things he could have asked for, peace being one of them! However, Solomon responded
” Now give me wisdom and knowledge… for who can judge this great people of yours?” 2 Chron 1v10
As I’m sure you can imagine, God was thrilled with Solomon’s request and granted it, amongst others, in abundance.
God wants our desires to be for Him and Him alone. When we seek God first, all other things fall into place. During a time when he was teaching his disciples, Jesus spoke about how God knows the earthly things like food and clothing that we need. He then says
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness , and all these things shall be added to you” Matt 6v33
When our eyes are fixed on God and His Kingdom, our life becomes about serving and pleasing Him. We become grateful for the things we have in our life, simple things like a meal each day, a bed to sleep in. Granted, these are sadly not simple things for everyone, but we can become complacent about the everyday things we have, instead of seeing them as immense blessings from our Heavenly Father.
King David, Solomon’s dad, and known as a man after God’s own heart, wrote many Psalms and songs. There is a wonderful start to Psalm 63
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you” Psalm 63v1
You know that feeling when you’ve finished a workout and you are gasping for a drink? Or you wake up first thing in the morning with a mouth like the desert? THAT is how David longed for God, I’m sad to say I can’t even imagine that. The word of God should be refreshment to our mind and spirit. It is life giving.
So, back to our mirror. Can we turn the image staring back at us from being just us and the multitude of material goods and ‘things’, the latest must haves, that we think we want, and change it to an image of ourselves with our Saviour perhaps, or with our favourite Bible characters whom we want to ask questions of? Imagine how pleasing that would be to the Father who created you.
“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” 1 John 2v17