Actions speak louder than words -- but desires speak loudest. The pursuit of pleasure is what drives all our actions and decisions, driving us into relationships, driving us to watch football, driving us toward excellence at work. We authentically pursue what we are convinced will bring us pleasure.
John Bunyan was a pastor who spent considerable time thinking about how pleasures operate in our lives. In one of his sermons Bunyan said: "desires are hunting things." Stalking through cornfields in boots, camo overalls, and a blaze orange hat is a fitting metaphor for the restless heart in search of pleasures. Our hearts are hungry and our hearts hunt this world for something (or someone) to fill a void.
But of course not all of our desires are good and helpful. Our desires may be pure or sinfully twisted.
Discerning the Desires
Sinful desires manifest themselves in sinful actions and words. A heart bent on sinful, selfish pursuits will trample anyone who gets in the way (James 4:1–4). Self-centered desires lead into all sorts of problems: the desire to win arguments, to overeat, to indulge in laziness, to pursue sexual sin, or to chase after selfish gain. The heart chases a million desires.
[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]