If we think about it, the deep longings of our hearts ultimately boil down to:
- a need to know that there is some meaning and significance to our lives
- a need to be in control of our lives and circumstances
- a desire both to love and be loved and accepted by others
- a desire not to die and to have hope for the future
- a desire for comfort (peace, happiness, satisfaction, etc, which, for many, implies having money but money itself is merely a means to an end not a 'deep longing' in and of itself).
Most people can recognise this and, when prompted to think about it, will be able to trace all their actions, longings, and disappointments back to one or more of these needs. Furthermore, I think most people will recognise that we never seem to be able to truly satisfy all these needs.
The fact that we all share these common, deep longings ought to be enough to make us question whether we are merely the product of some amazing 'big bang' and millions of random, evolutionary events and to wonder whether in fact the Bible can help us make sense of our deep longings and show us how they can be satisfied. However, when it comes to reading the Bible, many seem to think that it merely contains information telling us what to do. It would be better to think of it as telling us what we CAN'T do for none of us can find God by trying to obey Him. We will all fail. But it is far more than mere information.
The Bible itself is 'living and active' (Hebrews 4:12). It reaches to the depths of our hearts and exposes our idolatry and rebellion against God, that is, all the ways in which we try to satisfy those longings apart from Him. And, most importantly of all, if we have entrusted our lives to God, it transforms us. As we read it the Holy Spirit convicts us and points us to our need for Jesus. The Word itself is powerful (Romans 1:16). It is the power of God for our initial salvation and for all our growth (Acts 20:32, Titus 2:11). In other Words, it is all we need to re-align our deep longings to Jesus, the only One in whom they will ever be truly satisfied.
We must never read the Bible thinking that it is simply an exercise in acquiring or re-acquainting ourselves with information. Information alone does not change us. Neither can we even take the information and change ourselves. We must read it prayerfully asking that God would expose our sin and make His truth ‘real’ in our hearts so that we would be a transformed rather than merely an informed people.