Opinion | former TCW issue

What We Want

Why Jen Pollock Michel views desire as a gateway to deepened intimacy with God
What We Want
Image: MILA SUPENSKIYA / SHUTTERSTOCK

For many of us, the idea of desire often has a negative connotation, immediately bringing to mind that pull we feel to do things we shouldn't. But Jen Pollock Michel's new book Teach Us to Want (InterVarsity Press) frames desire in a positive light—as a vital component to spiritual growth and transformation. We spoke with Jen about how viewing our "wants" through the lens of faith can ultimately draw us closer to God.

How can we differentiate between the luring draw of temptation and what you refer to in your book as "holy desire"?

One passage that's really important in understanding the difference is the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 11:1–9). It's a picture of unholy, selfish desire: The people rejected God's good, and they made their own plans for good. So one key to recognizing unhealthy, unholy desire is when I start to construct my own version of good—when I decide that my life will be good and it will have to be this certain way. ...

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