Our desire for God is the fruit of a renewed heart; it is a dynamic of the Spirit. I like what Tozer has said:
You and I are in little (our sins excepted) what God is in large. Being made in His image we have within us the capacity to know Him. In our sins we lack only the power. The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition.
Let me bring it to you in this way: we being in Christ, desire of God what Jesus desires of Him—His love, His fellowship, and His righteousness, etc.
Following Hard after God
With this desire, if indeed it is desire from God, we must pursue Him. That is, we must take our desire and put it into action. As Tozer has indicated in his book, The Pursuit of God, we must follow hard after God. Tozer writes, “On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine.” Tozer says that since God is a person, knowledge of Him can and must be cultivated.
Therefore, when God pursues us and renews our heart, and we desire Him, we must not let that desire lay still. We must cultivate that desire so that it will grow. We must follow hard after God and work at bringing our desires for Him into full bloom—into a full knowledge of God (Eph. 4:19).
Desiring God Alone
Any desire that is not ultimately for God and is not giving Him glory is idolatry. For this reason, in our desire and search for God—the true God—if we intend to find Him we must concentrate on Him alone. According to Tozer, “The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the ‘ands’ lies our great woe. If we omit the ‘and’ we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.”
In Psalms 73:25 David wrote that there was no one in heaven or on earth that he desired besides God. David of course realized that in men and in all created things there is some satisfaction, but in God there is a real and eternal satisfaction. Again, in Psalms 16:11, David said to God, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever.”
Desiring God with Our Whole Being
There are a number of Psalms that recount how David yearned and longed and thirsted, even panted after God. He desired God with his whole being—body, soul, and spirit.
The spirit is that innermost part of man that was created to commune with God. For David, it was important that his spirit was right, faithful, and steadfast before God. After his sin with Bathsheba—during which his spirit was not in communion with God—the Bible tells us that he was eager in his spirit to be in connection with God again. He prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10).
The soul is that part of us that lies between our spirit and our body. It is the part that brings the worship of God from our spirit to our mind and body. It is the center of our being, the seat of our emotions and desires. It was from that part of David that he expressed his desires for God. Thus he prayed in Psalms 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” In Psalms 143:6 he prays, “I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.” Again in Psalms 84:2 David declares, “My soul longs, yes even faints for the courts of the Lord.”
But the soul and spirit were not the only part of David that desired God. He also desired God with his body. In Psalms 63:1 he said to God, “O God; You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You…” David goes on in this Psalm to describe how he, in his flesh, desired and praised God. He said, “I have looked [with eyes] for you in the sanctuary…my lips shall praise You…I will lift up my hands in Your name…my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips…When I remember [with the mind] You on my bed, I meditate [with the mind] on You in the night watches…” (Italics added for emphasis.)