The Gift of Thorns (A. J. Swoboda)

The Gift of Thorns (A. J. Swoboda)

“How are we formed into godliness in our human desire?” More than anything, this project is a biblical, theological, and experiential exploration into one of the things that makes us human: our God-given desire. Not only will we take time to explore our own desires, but we will also traverse a basic understanding of what the Bible says about God’s desire, what has happened to our desires, and how desires are transformed when we choose to follow Jesus and be open to the Holy Spirit.

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The Gift of Thorns (A. J. Swoboda)
  • S1: God's Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    Remarkable as it may sound, even if we didn’t exist, God would still be love. In the first session, we explore this mystery at length and consider that everything in the entire world and creation is an overflow of this God of love.

  • S2: Human Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    Our desires were good before they were corrupted by sin. The desire for relationship. The desire for friendship. The desire for food. The desire for sex. No doubt he matched the call with the glorious desire that would fulfill it.

  • S3: Satan's Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    We all learn to gravitate toward the desires of the one who gives us what we want. God is most interested in our formation into the image of Christ— not in giving us everything we want. Satan, on the other hand, does not wish to see us formed into the image of Christ. Rather, Satan offers us what...

  • S4: Fleshly Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    The flesh is the part of us that remains “attached” to the works of the enemy. The flesh is not something that simply goes away the minute we begin to follow Jesus. In fact, we will walk with it until the day we are resurrected in the presence of Jesus. The flesh doesn’t simply go away over time....

  • S5: Waning Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    G. K. Chesterton is widely believed to have said, “There are two ways to get enough; one is to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” Perhaps one positive outcome of experiencing a loss of desire for God is gaining a deeper appreciation for what we already do have rather than wan...

  • S6: Undesired Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    Those places in our lives where we willingly deny ourselves for the sake of following Jesus— especially in the realm of desire— are where we can mature the most.

  • S7: Killing Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    Because the human heart is broken, an essential part of Christian spirituality is the process of “killing” desires. Some desires need to be healed. But some simply need to be killed. There are three steps to confront our temptations and evil desires: confess, cut,
    and fill.

  • S8: Nurturing Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    Our call is to nurture the higher desires, and a central way this happens is through the cultivation of habits that shape those desires. Our habits
    and our souls go hand in hand. There is an intimate relationship between our habits and our desires.

  • S9: Ordering Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    The call to Christ is not merely to do good. Rather, it is to be formed into the kind of people who do good supernaturally as a result of the Spirit’s transformative power. Altruism without transformation is not salvific.

  • S10: Resurrecting Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    Part of our task as followers of Jesus is to open ourselves up to a constant hunger and thirst for God, even if we never seem to receive what we believe faith should produce. This is the “resurrection of desire,” the awakening of desire toward God in this life.

  • S11: Longing Desire (The Gift of Thorns)

    Longing for a brighter future is an innate human condition. Without something to hope for, we lose our sense of meaning, value, and purpose. We were made to orient toward a future day when all will be made right, evil will be undone, and the tears will be wiped from our eyes.