Born again people have new desires akin to new appetites for the things of God. Paul speaks of this in Galatians 5:16–17, saying, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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.” That last phrase is incredibly important – regenerated Christians desire the will of God at their deepest level because of the indwelling, transforming presence and power of God the Holy Spirit.
Paul echoes this theme of regenerated deepest desires in Romans 7:4–6, saying,
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
Yet, so long as we live on this side of glorified perfection, we still wrestle with desires that tempt us to sin. When we do give in to sinful desires, our deepest desires remain unmet, and we are miserable until we repent and live in obedience to God and the deepest desires He gives us. Paul describes his own experience with this: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”66
What are the biggest changes you have experienced in your desires since being born again?
- Rom. 7:15.