We are souls, which means we are desire. The imago dei in us means that we not only have desire like God, but that we also desire something beyond us, that is God.
Often Christians think that the key to the successful Christian life is to suppress or deny all desire. In this sense we are adopting an Eastern way of thinking. The Eastern religions tell us that the key to happiness is to desire nothing so that you are never disappointed. Attachment, they say, is what causes suffering, therefore the way to eliminate suffering is to eliminate desire or to not love anything too much.
But this is not the way of the indwelling life of Christ, and it is not the path that the Bible teaches for us.
Galatians 5:16-17. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
The path of life is not one of desire suppression. It is one of desire fulfillment. Galatians 5 (above) describes a battle of desire happening in our souls. Victory comes by “walking with the Spirit” so that the desires of the Spirit over power the desires of the flesh (selfishness).
Now don’t worry, on our journey together this year we will talk all kinds of ways about the Spirit, and the flesh, and how all of this is connected to Christ. But for now, what we need to understand is that desire is good. Desire comes from the source of life (God) and is a sign of life. Desires are proof of life.
To live by the indwelling life of Christ is to live from desire. It is to let all desires lead to Christ himself. It is in this way that we will find victory over all other desires that would compete for our deepest affections and thus seek to enslave us. The desire for Christ must outweigh the desire for the things of the flesh. And of course it can, because Christ can fully satisfy all of our deepest longings.