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Truly Desiring God

What does it mean to desire God? Google defines the word ‘desire’ as:

A strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. Desire in English can be translated as a strong feeling of wanting or a wish. 

We usually associate the word ‘wish’ with a dream, something that is not easily attainable, or requires a lot of effort in order for it to become a reality. This shows us that it isn’t enough to just desire something, but there must be an action that follows in order to attain it! What is it that believers desire after? It’s God! We desire a relationship with Him.

Whom have I in heaven [but You]? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.”

(Psalms 73:25)

King David, even with all his wealth and fame as Israel’s king, had no other desire than the Lord. The word for ‘desire’ in Hebrew speaks of a longing or craving. [1] The Lord was what David was longing for! But, was his longing and desire for the Lord enough? Scripture tells us,

“The soul of a lazy man desires and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”

(Proverbs 13:4)

This shows us it isn’t enough to just desire after the Lord. As David wrote in Psalms, he sought after the Lord.

I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

(Psalms 34:4)

This shows us there are actions required with our desire. For example: when we crave/desire pizza for dinner, we order it and drive down to the restaurant and pick it up. We put an action to our desire. David’s deliverance and freedom from fear came when he sought the Lord; it wasn’t enough for him to just desire to know God. The second half of Proverbs 13:4 says,

“the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”

(Proverbs 13:4)

Webster dictionary defines diligence as: steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth; due attention; industry; assiduity. So then, with desire should follow a diligent pursuit – a constant effort given to seeking the Lord for the word says,

“He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

(Hebrews 11:6)

If we look further into the Hebrew word for ‘seek’ it means: to look for or search for something, or for answers. [2] There are so many unanswered questions we have that God wants to answer; Scripture says

“It is the glory of God to conceal the matter, but it’s the glory of kings to search out the matter.”

(Proverbs 25:2)

God hides things within the scriptures that He wants us to search out! Jesus also said,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

(Luke 11:9-10)

The rich young man, who asked Jesus what he could do to have eternal life, is an example of someone who desired to know God, but he wouldn’t let go of what he had in order to seek after God:

‘Jesus answered him, “If you wish to be perfect [that is, have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies], go and sell what you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” But when the young man heard this, he left grieving and distressed, for he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God]. Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, it is difficult for a rich man [who clings to possessions and status as security] to enter the kingdom of heaven.”’

(Matthew 19:21-23 AMP)

Clearly the rich young man desired or wished to know God and inherit eternal life, he even kept the commandments from a young age, but his heart was still desiring and longing after the things of this world.

Having money or owning things isn’t necessarily bad, it’s only when we desire them and put them above God. It doesn’t have to be money or things that we put above God – it can be our jobs, families, friendships, or even the goals we want to accomplish in our life. There are many things we can desire and put above God.

Jeremiah tells us that if we seek God with all our heart we will find Him. This means we must seek him above everything we desire or long for on this earth, and allow God to renew our mind so that all we desire is Him – just like David did (2 Co 4:18, 1 John 2:15).

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

(Jeremiah 29:13)

One of the Hebrew words for ‘seek’ is the word dârash and it means “to follow (for pursuit or search); by implication to seek or ask; specifically to worship”. Seeking God has to do with worshiping Him. Jesus told his disciples, as well as the rich young man, to follow Him. This wasn’t just speaking about them physically following Him around, but also following His teachings.

As mentioned above, God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). The more we seek God, in understanding the hidden, spiritual meaning of the scriptures and in prayer and fasting, the deeper we go into a relationship with Him – having a right understanding of His word and how to walk in them!

“In the night my soul longs for You [O LORD], Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For [only] when Your judgments are experienced on the earth Will the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”

(Isaiah 26:9)


  1. Brown Driver Briggs Dictionary – H8669
  2. Ancient Hebrew Lexicon Bible – H1245