Killing Desire May Look Like Sanctification John Eldredge – excerpt from The Desire
You may recall the story Jesus told of the man who entrusted three of his servants with thousands of dollars (literally, “talents”), urging them to handle his affairs well while he was away. When he returned, he listened eagerly to their reports. The first two fellows went out into the marketplace and doubled their investment. As a result, they were handsomely rewarded. The third servant was not so fortunate. His gold was taken from him, and he was thrown into “outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” My goodness. Why? All he did was bury the money under the porch until his master’s return. Most of us would probably agree with the path he chose—at least the money was safe there. But listen to his reasoning. Speaking to his master, he said, “I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it” (see Matt. 25:14–30 NLT). He was afraid of the master, whom he saw as a hard man. He didn’t trust his master’s heart.
The issue isn’t capital gains—it’s what we think of God. When we bury our desires, we are saying the same thing: “God, I don’t dare desire because I fear you; I think you are hard-hearted.”
Even though we may profess at one level a genuine faith in him, at another level we are like the third servant. Our obedience is not so much out of love as it is out of carefulness. “Just tell me what to do, God, and I’ll do it.” Killing desire may look like sanctification, but it’s really godlessness. Literally, our way of handling life without God. The deepest moral issue is always what we, in our heart of hearts, believe about God. And nothing reveals this belief as clearly as what we do with our desire.
(Desire , 57–59)