Desire Study Guide

Desire Study Guide

by John Eldredge

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"Above all else," Scripture urges, "guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" -Proverbs 4:23

 But how?  How do we follow this warning?  How do we protect our hearts in this dangerous story in which we live? It all depends, says John Eldredge, on how you handle desire. "How you handle your heart's desire is how you handle your heart.  And how you handle desire also reeals what you think of God.  We've been told to kill desire and call it sanctification.  But there is another way." In this companion to the book Desire, Craig McConnell and John Eldredge show you the path to a deeper, more passionate, and more fulfilling walk with God by helping you recover and navigate the deep desires of your heart. Designed for personal use and for study groups, this guide will help you:
  • Uncover the desires God has placed in your heart when he made you.
  • Resurrect your heart from disappointment and unmet desire, so you can hope and dream again.
  • Expose the impostors that cheat our desires and trap our hearts in addiction.
  • Embrace desire as an act of faith.
  • Walk with God in the journey of desire.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781418566104
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 10/14/2007
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 128
File size: 280 KB

About the Author

John Eldredge is a bestselling author, a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Wild at Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own hearts in God's love, and learn to live in God's kingdom. John and his wife, Stasi, live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Read an Excerpt


The Journey We Must Take to Find the Life God Offers

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2007 John Eldredge with Craig McConnell
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-41852-857-7

Chapter One

Our Heart's Deepest Secret

It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them. -George Eliot

As you set out on the first leg of your journey, it might be good to remember what it was like to begin the first day of exercise, or a new job, or the next grade level at school in the fall. It felt a little awkward at first, didn't it? It took time to find your stride. This guidebook will probably feel the same way. Remember-our desires often seem a secret that may surface at times and then hide again in the deeper places of our heart. Recalling these defining desires cannot be rushed, or for that matter, orchestrated. It takes time, reflection, and allowing your heart to be moved as you sort through things.


What is the secret set within each of our hearts? (pp. 1-2) _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Your existence has a deep meaning. Yet for most of us, it remains hidden, shrouded, buried beneath all the other pressures and demands and busyness of life. But it doesn't go away. Your life has a secret, something written deep in your heart.

What does John mean, "Life comes to us all as a mystery"? (p. 2) _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Isn't there a life you have been searching for all your days? You may not always be aware of your search, and there are times when you seem to have abandoned looking altogether. But again and again it returns to us, this yearning that cries out for the life we prize ... You see, even while we are doing other things, "getting on with life," we still have an eye out for the life we secretly want. When someone seems to have gotten it together we wonder, how did he do it? Maybe if we read the same book, spent time with him, went to his church, things would come together for us as well. You see, we can never entirely give up our quest. (pp. 1, 11)

Is there anything about someone else's life that really looks good to you right now? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________


The clue as to who we really are and why we are here comes to us through our heart's desire. But it comes in surprising ways, and so often goes unnoticed, or misunderstood.

Unearthing our desire isn't a quick and easy thing. So start with just a good moment from the last few weeks-something that may seem rather simple, but it made you glad.

What happened? Why was it a good moment? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

How have other "hints" come to you? What are the movies and music, the people, events, and places that have really stirred your heart over the past few years? Just name them here. _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________


What are the two extremes which people tend to go to handle the past? Which do you tend toward? Why? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________


Now for the more difficult side of desire. It's hard for most of us to talk about our losses. But the secret of our hearts is also coming to us even in our greatest losses.

What has been one of your greatest losses or disappointments? Whom or what did you lose, and what did the loss mean to you? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Simone Weil says there are only two things that pierce the human heart ...

What are they? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Moments we wish would last forever and moments we wish had never begun.

What are we to make of these messengers? How are we to interpret what they are saying? (p. 8)

_________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________


What does John consider the unthinkable symptom of losing Paradise? (p. 9) _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

How has life turned out differently from the way you thought it would? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Now, what if I told you that life as you now experience it will go on forever just as it is, without improvement of any kind? Your health will stay as it is; your finances will remain as they are, your relationships, your work, all of it. (p. 10)

React to that with as much honesty as you can muster. _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________


What may discontent with our life indicate? ________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

By the grace of God, we cannot quite pull it off. In the quiet moments of the day we sense a nagging within, a discontentment, a hunger for something else. But because we have not solved the riddle of our existence, we assume that something is wrong-not with life, but with us. Everyone else seems to be getting on with things. What's wrong with me? We feel guilty about our chronic disappointment. Why can't I just learn to be happier in my job, in my marriage, in my church, in my group of friends? (pp. 10-11)

Have you ever felt that-that something is wrong with you, that if you did things better, if you were better, life wouldn't have turned out this way? Do you feel a twinge of guilt about wanting a different life? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

What does May say we do with our strong desires for more life? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Jesus was a man of deep desire. It's the secret of his life. Hebrews says it's what sustained him in his darkest hour-that he endured the cross because he so deeply desired what was on the other side, what his sacrifice would accomplish (Hebrews 12:2).

The secret that begins to solve the riddle of our lives is simply this. Life as usual is not the life we truly want. It is not the life we truly need. It is not the life we were made for. If we would only listen to our hearts, to what G. K. Chesterton called our "divine discontent," we would learn the secret of our existence ... "We have come to the wrong star ... That is what makes life at once so splendid and so strange. The true happiness is that we don't fit. We come from somewhere else. We have lost our way." (pp. 11-12)

What is divine about "discontent"? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Does it begin to make sense of things? You were made to live in Paradise. Put the book down and repeat it to yourself five times: I was made to live in Paradise. What does your heart do with that truth? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Man is so great that his greatness appears even in knowing himself to be miserable. A tree has no sense of its misery. It is true that to know we are miserable is to be miserable; but to know we are miserable is also to be great. Thus all the miseries of man prove his grandeur; they are the miseries of a dignified personage, the miseries of a dethroned monarch ... What can this incessant craving, and this impotence of attainment mean, unless there was once a happiness belonging to man, of which only the faintest traces remain, in that void which attempts to fill with everything within his reach? (Pascal, Pensées)

What does Pascal say the troubles and woes and heartaches of our lives prove? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Should the king in exile pretend he is happy there? Should he not seek his own country? His miseries are his ally; they urge him on. Let them grow, if need be. But do not forsake the secret of life; do not despise those kingly desires. We abandon the most important journey of our lives when we abandon desire. We leave our hearts by the side of the road and head off in the direction of fitting in, getting by, being productive, what have you ... If you will look around, you will see that most people have abandoned the journey. They have lost heart. They are camped in places of resignation or indulgence, or trapped in prisons of despair. (pp. 13, 15)

What have you abandoned? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________


What does Proverbs 4:23 urge us to do? Why? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Among other things, your heart is the place where your deepest desires come from ("Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart" [Psalm 37:4, emphasis added]). The way you handle desire is in fact the way you handle your heart.

How have you handled desire in the past? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Striving and indulging-that's how I handled desire for years. Grasping for what I could arrange, denying those desires I couldn't take care of, vacillating from just working hard and using busyness to keep myself from facing my heart to looking for a little something on the side. I have mishandled my desire for years. -John

We must return to the journey. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we must pick up the trail and follow the map that we have at hand. (p. 13)

Of course, you have taken up the journey. That's why you're going through this guidebook. What are you hoping to find?

_________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

Do you have any fears about this journey? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________

And in spite of those fears, how badly do you want to find the life you were meant to live? _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________


Excerpted from DESIRE STUDY GUIDE by JOHN ELDREDGE CRAIG McCONNELL Copyright © 2007 by John Eldredge with Craig McConnell. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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