This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
— 1 Timothy 3:1
Today I want to talk to you about “desire” and what it takes to get to the top — to be the best at anything you do. This issue of “desire” is hugely important in all aspects of our lives. In fact, when the apostle Paul instructed Timothy on how to choose the top leaders for his church, he urged the young pastor to choose people who have this specific quality. He said, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1).
The word “desire” is the Greek word orgidzo, and it describes a longing, a craving, an urge, a burning desire, or a yearning ambition to achieve something. It portrays a person so fixed on the object of his desire that his whole being is stretched forward to take hold of that goal or object, and he will not be satisfied until he reaches and obtains it.
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Paul held the qualification of “desire” above everything else on his list of requirements for leaders — and it takes only a few personal experiences with “desireless” people to clearly understand why he did this! However, to illustrate the power of desire, I would like to share a true story from my own life that took place many years ago.
I once saw a photograph that had been taken from the summit of one of Canada’s tallest mountains. It was unquestionably the most beautiful photograph I had ever seen. In fact, it was such an amazing sight that I determined I wanted to take a trip to Canada and climb to the top of that mountain to see the view in real life!
Eventually my dream came to fruition, and I made arrangements to travel to Canada and join a mountaineering expedition up this mountain. Upon my arrival, I linked up with a group of men who would serve as my climbing partners and accompany me to the summit of this mountain. All of these other men were experienced climbers — I was not. They were all in superb physical conditions — I was not. I had no idea how difficult the journey was going to be, but I knew that I had enough desire to keep me going and get me to the top!
After some preparation, the expedition team began the difficult ascent. This route wasn’t the most technical or dangerous path to follow with the help of a guide. But it could be extremely treacherous to a person unfamiliar with navigating rugged, glaciated landscapes, and it had claimed the lives of several people through the years. In fact, just days before our own climb, two professional climbers had made a tragic misstep on a patch of black ice along this very same route and had fallen several thousand feet to their deaths on the glacier below!
I huffed, puffed, and pushed my way to the top of that mountain. With each step, the weight of my backpack got heavier. I scrambled up steep inclines that led to even sharper inclines. Rocks tumbled under my feet. I fell. I rolled. I promised God again and again that I would never attempt to do such a stupid thing again if I could just get to the top of that mountain and then make it back down alive!
Finally, we made it to the summit, and I stood on the top of that mountain and looked out over the peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Spread out before me was a stunning panoramic view of hundreds of incredibly beautiful mountain peaks. The sky was so clear that I could see for a hundred miles. I could see peak after peak after peak. As the sun went down, I watched as orange, blue, and purple tones colored the sky. I’d seen sunsets in beautiful places all over the world, but this was gorgeous beyond words! Hard as it was to believe, the photograph I had seen paled in comparison to the real thing.
My exhaustion disappeared, and for a few minutes, I forgot about the hardships I had encountered to get to the summit. I had conquered that mountain! I had really done it! My heart was shouting, and I was filled with inexpressible joy.
However, my great victory was about to be interrupted in a big way by altitude sickness. A few hours later, my victorious celebration came to a screeching halt as I began to feel nausea and dizziness wash over me. It came fast and hard, wave after wave of nausea pounding against me until I was unable to stand. My eyes began to see black spots. My head seemed to spin round and round, and I started violently vomiting until I had nothing left in my stomach to throw up. Even then, my body still convulsed with dry heaves.
Dehydrated and weak, I didn’t know how I could physically make it through the night. All night long my body wrenched with dry heaves, even though my stomach was empty. I cried. I pleaded for help. I prayed. It was a sickness like nothing I had ever experienced in my life.
The next morning I was still sick and so physically weak that I had to muster the energy to take a few steps. The problem was that we had to start the trip back down the slope to where we had begun the climb the day before. The other men didn’t know how I was going to make it. But I was determined that the mountain wasn’t going to conquer me! I was going to make it up and down that mountain successfully!
I took one small step down the mountain — then another small step and then another. Each step took such an effort that I had to work up the nerve to take each next small step.
The other men in our group knew the risks inherent in an expedition of this nature, and they’d assumed that I knew them too. However, I was uninformed and ill-prepared. If I had possessed the right knowledge, it wouldn’t have made the climb easier, but at least I would have understood the potential risks and been better prepared to overcome them. My ignorance on this subject meant that I had to figure it all out on my own, and that is always the most difficult way to learn!
Why am I telling you this story? Because you, too, will run into many obstacles in life that no one prepared you to face. Most likely, people did not deliberately deny you the information. They may have assumed you already understood, or they may have wrongly believed that you were more prepared than you actually were. However, if you have the inward desire to achieve your goal
- Any obstacle can be overcome.
- Any challenge can be conquered.
- Any mountain can be successfully climbed.
Paul stressed the importance of “desire” — a yearning ambition to achieve a goal — in First Timothy 3:1 because it is absolutely fundamental to achieving success in any arena of life. It is without a doubt the chief characteristic needed to survive the challenges of ministry and life while serving God with a pure heart.
If your level of “desire” is strong, it doesn’t matter if you’re ill-equipped or uninformed in certain areas. You will complete your assigned task because your inward determination and resolve will not let you give up!
Of course, First Timothy 3:1 is specifically talking about a person’s desire to attain to a leadership position within the ministry. But that word “desire” could also pertain to anyone who desires to reach “…the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) for their own lives.
Each person’s calling is different, and you are uniquely gifted to fill a specific role within the great plan of the Father. However, to truly realize your potential, you must possess a strong inner desire — a desire that refuses to quit at all costs and continually presses forward to reach new heights. This is the desire to be all God has destined and created you to be, and it will propel and sustain you even when the going gets tough and you feel like you can’t take another step!
Today I urge you to pray the following prayer and make the subsequent confession of faith. Let it come from your heart, asking God to insert His mighty hand into your spirit to stir up the faith that resides there! Then let your faith lift you up and move you toward conquering any mountain that lies in your path. Remember, if you’ve got enough desire, there is nothing that you cannot achieve!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I ask You to stir up desire in my heart that is strong enough to make me yearn to be the best possible me and achieve all that I can achieve. I know that You expect me to perform to my fullest potential, but I admit that my desire needs an upgrade in order for me reach that highest level. You have given me the talents I need, and I have ideas that I’ve never taken the time to develop. Now I see that I need greater desire at work in my life. So today, Father, I ask the Holy Spirit to stir desire deeply inside me so that I’ll never again be satisfied with mediocrity or the status quo!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that a strong, God-given desire propels me forward, energizes me, and compels me to be the best I can be at whatever I set my hand to do. I reject laziness; I reject any idea that just doing “what’s required” is enough for me; and I put forth whatever effort is required to reach the top of the mountain God has set before my life. I intend to scale that mountain, shout the victory — and rejoice that God has done such a wonderful work in my life and granted me the desires of my heart!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- After reading the Greek definition for “desire” at the beginning of this Sparkling Gem, would you say that desire is a force that is at work in you? If yes, how do you see it in your life? If no, why not?
- Have you seen others who were super-talented and naturally gifted, yet failed to achieve something magnificent with their lives because they had no motivation or desire? Think about who those people ar Reflect on the decisions they have or haven’t made and consider how they affected the outcome of their own lives. What can you learn to do and not to do from what you’ve observed in their lives?
- If God were to say what He saw in your life, would He say that He sees desire at work, or would He say that you’ve been willing to lay low and just accept the status quo? What do you need to do or change in order for God to see that “desire” is propelling you toward a grand and glorious future?