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Bible Book List
Encouragement for Today - Thursday, July 30, 2015
Amber Haines

JULY 30, 2015

Born of Desire
AMBER C. HAINES

"Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1:15 (NIV)

What a dreadful verse for me to write about here, I know, but when the fog and fear of grief landed on me the year after my baby was in the hospital, I broke down, and I need to say this: I became fractured.

I desperately wanted control of my son’s health, and for that matter, I wanted control of anything in my proximity. This is how I thought I could hold myself together … how I thought I could hold the whole world together.

It’s interesting how sin creates a role reversal between God and us, and often when we’re in the midst of it, we don’t see what we’re doing. There’s no way we would purposely go into a situation and say, "Yeah, I think I would like to bear the weight of the world here." Instead, those thoughts are more like tiny seeds inside us, and these seeds are often the hidden seeds of desire.

I didn’t know back then how any desire not satisfied in Christ would divide me from my community and shatter me from within. One from the other (wife from husband, mother from sons) and one from within (mind from body from soul). We all fracture this way when we confuse our desires and aim for satisfaction outside of God.

It was like backward walking for us during those days, a process of un-recovery. Seth topped off his drinks in secret. I loomed in online shopping carts as a way to tap into another world, a way to inject a sense of hope. I counted pennies and bought clothes and art and arranged an imagined life of control and order and clarity while my boys ran unanswered circles around me. I planned and spent our money as if I were buying sanity.

Deeper into the bottle and deeper into my to-do lists and imaginary occasions to wear beautiful clothes, we engaged ourselves in an undoing, and with every undoing (the drinks, the shopping, the disappointed stomp), I entered deeper inside myself, desire so muddy I didn’t know I wasn’t whole. I didn’t know how much I refused to acknowledge my brokenness, walking around in the pieces of pride.

I sat for hours making lists. I listed foods my son could eat. I scanned my schedule and wrote down every move I would make. I wanted control of myself, to make myself a life. The desire to survive created in me a striving I had never known. I was striving so hard that I had to lean into the kitchen counter to hold up my lungs. I was working to breathe.

Every step of striving was a wall, a barrier against love and a refusal to trust my Heavenly Father. Every effort toward control made me more numb, and if you can’t feel, you aren’t alive anymore. Control was killing me. Just as our key verse in James 1:15 points out: sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

All along, maybe I just wanted a little bit of my own kingdom, a place where I knew I would be okay, but I wasn’t made to be queen. I was made a beloved and free daughter. I wasn’t made to be divided by desire, bearing the fruit of rage, anxiety, isolation and exhaustion.

I was made for an abundant life whose desires bear the unhindered and eternal fruit of righteousness.

Heavenly Father, You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. You’ve given Your Word, Your Spirit and our Savior. You give me desires that lead to life. Help me recognize my desires and give me wisdom to know what will be born from them. Bear in me the fruit of Your Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Lord, this is my freedom. Please set me free. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 1:18, 21, "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created … Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Amber Haines’ new book, Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home, brings hope for everyone who has longed to feel free, authentic and whole.

Do you wrestle with desire? Head to Amber Haines’ blog today for more encouragement.

Enter to WIN a copy of Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines. In celebration of this book, Amber’s publisher is giving away 10 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select 10 winners and email notifications to each one, by Wednesday, August 5.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Sometimes we want a very long list of things, but even those surface-level things can tell you something about what you really need from God.

What is it right now that you desire? How might that desire be fulfilled in Christ?

© 2015 by Amber C. Haines. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Revell Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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