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My one desire

July 16, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Today’s post is adapted from the August 1st, 2017 post.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

Every month, I try to spend one work day away from the day-to-day responsibilities of being a pastor. I travel to the Center for Retreat and Renewal in Simsbury and try to avoid email and phone calls for the day. Instead, I spend extended time with God, I try to bring order into the scattered pieces of my life, and I work on aspects of my job that require extended, uninterrupted time.

But the first thing I do upon arriving is to put on one specific song. It is called My One Desire. It is a simple song that goes like this:

You are the great deliverer, my eyes look to you

You open your hand and satisfy all of my desire, all of my desire

As the deer pants for the stream, my soul thirsts for you

When can I meet the living God? For you are my one desire, you are my one desire.


I will put my hope in you

I will trust my heart with you

With my life I’ll worship you

For you are my one desire

Jesus said that “blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). I remember the late Christian singer Rich Mullins explaining the idea behind his song “My One Thing” by saying that purity of heart is to will (or desire) one thing. The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard also wrote a book entitled Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing. And St. Augustine, in his classic Confessions, explained sin by saying that it is “disordered love.” Instead of loving God supremely, sin comes when we love and desire something else more than Him.

All that is to say that when I come to the retreat center, the first thing I need to do is to use that song to bring me back to a place where God is my one desire, where all the other things that I have been elevating above Him over the past month are repented of and laid down, one by one. I have to come back to a place where my heart’s desire is to know and honor God with my life, so that I will leave that place with a renewed commitment to being a man of God, loving my family, and shepherding the people of NewLife.

Sometimes music can be a way to reflect the mood we are in: when we are sad, we pick out a sad song to listen to, or when we feel like celebrating, we put on a joyful song. Other times, we need music to bring us back to where we need to be. What songs do you have that remind you of the person you want to be, of who God is, or of what He has called you to be?

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