Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
In his book, The Transforming Friendship, Dr. James Houston offers a helpful definition of the spiritual life when he says that we are “in the discipline of exercising the heart of desire for God.” This simple statement fully encompasses the motivation, the direction, as well as the ultimate destination of the spiritual life – that we are in a relationship of mutual desire with God. Like two lovers running to embrace each other, God draws near to us as we draw near to God (James 4:8).
To bring into focus the many longings of our heart so that they find expression in the foundational desire that underlies all our seeking is our spiritual direction. And the more intentional we are in participating with this underlying desire the more we will discover the living waters of God’s highest vision for our humanity. In the merging of our own desires with God’s we will find our lives abundantly expressed.
As we are weaned from the many alternatives that misdirect our yearnings for God we also discover a greater sense of unity in our lives. In the consolidation of our heart’s longings we become directly engaged with their true object. We also find, as our desires align with those of God, that our longings become fewer, but stronger. It is a slow process, but one that ultimately leads us from dissipation to an undivided heart.
A sustained desire for prayer is evidence of the extent to which our lives are given over to God. If we are self-oriented, our longings for God and our motivation to prayer will be quenched. Bu the more we abandon ourselves to God’s desires, the more sustained we will be in our zeal. As Houston puts it,
Self confidence robs us of the incentive to pray as we should. But when all our significance, security, identity and future are in the hands of God, then prayer is bound to follow.
The spiritual life invites us to return to our Father’s house. And the countless choices we make each day are what determine our direction, either towards or away from God. They reveal the truth of Jesus’ teaching that “where your treasure is, there your hearts will be also.” (Luke 12:34).
Unless your soul is continually lifted up to God, your flesh will drag it down. Therefore, you must renew your determination for the spiritual life each day.
St.Frances de Sales
Rob Des Cotes
Imago Dei Christian Communities
1. How is James Houston’s simple but all-encompassing definition of the spiritual lifehelpful to you (opening paragraph)?
2. Consider influences within you and in your circumstances that may quench your desire for God. The meditation names the many alternatives that misdirect our yearnings, as well as self- orientation and self-confidence as examples. Reflect on these as well as others from your experience.
3. How have you known your heart to be nurtured toward increasing desire for God? What spiritual practices align with this nurturing?
Consider the wonder of the invitation to reset one’s whole life around seeking and desiring God. Draw near to him and ask for his grace to make this as a growing reality for you. Open the door of your heart to him both to love him and to receive his love.