Deep longings pervade the human heart.
We long for selfless, trustworthy, unending love from someone we can trust to be faithful and helpful.
We long for the unity within the diversity of humanity, some means by which we can live in peace and oneness that benefits each of us.
We long for communication - from face-to-face conversations to the proliferation of modern technology created for the purpose of letting us know others and be known by them - and have a seemingly insatiable passion to speak and be spoken to.
We long for community, significant and earnest relationships with others, so that we are part of a people devoted to something larger and greater than our individual lives.
We long for humility, where people pour themselves out unreservedly for the benefit and well-being of others.
We long for peace, harmony and safe altruism for others and ourselves so that abuse, cruelty, misery and the painful tears they cause could stop.
We long for selfless common good, a world in which everyone does what is best for all and is not so viciously and exclusively devoted to self interest and tribal concerns.
Why? Why do we have these persistent deep longings that occasionally compel us to action and often leave us frustrated or disappointed?
~Mark Driscoll, Doctrine, p11-12
Why indeed! I read this after writing my previous post, and I realised that these longings are many of the things we use to define ourselves... to learn about ourselves... to try and understand ourselves. If we can meet these longings in our lives then we can say we 'know who we are'.
Driscoll continues and says that all these longings are actually with us by design. It's not a flaw, it's simply a construct in humans so they seek their Creator. In trying to define ourselves we are simply pointed once again back at the Creator and we see that only by knowing Him will we be able to understand ourselves. We long for these things because ultimately they are things only God can provide.
Tragically, human desires corrupted by sin turn in on themselves; rather than finding satisfaction in God, longings become lusts - bottomless pits of selfish desire, never quite satisfied, inevitable leading to despair. Because we are made in the image of a triune God to reflect his glory, we will never stop longing; yet, our sin-stained longings distort that reflection.Sin defines any act when we turn from God and focus on ourselves. Any longing that we have should lead us to God, but in our humanness we change the focus and try to substitute something to subdue that longing - which will never work (as Driscoll says it's a bottomless pit).