‘The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise.’ Genesis 3.6 (GNB)
This extract is how the Good News Bible translates Eve’s wonder as she stared at the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. In her case, the word she ended this sentence with was ‘wise’, but it is possible we could all put a word in at the end of the sentence to describe something that we really want: “How wonderful it would be to become…”. If we are honest enough to do that, it might reveal something about the desires of our hearts. What might your word be – wise, powerful, wealthy, attractive?
In his letter, James speaks about the desires that battle within us (James 4.1–3). The desires are there, we just don’t really like them, and so we probably pretend they are not there in the first place. What James advocates is that we admit these desires and actually ask God for them, presumably because if we do not ask God for them we are going to be tempted to get them by other means.
There is, however, a small catch! James warns against using what we have for our own pleasures. When God gives, it is a gift of love, but a gift he loves to be shared. The power that God gives is a power to minister to others, the wealth that God gives is a wealth that he wants shared and the wisdom God gives is wisdom that he wants to be used for service. So God loves to give, but he loves what he gives to be used to bless others as well as ourselves. What is your heart’s desire? Rather than hide it, bring it in to his glorious light.