Many desires are better dodged than done, but it’s not easy to disobey the drumbeat of desires. That requires listening to God’s gift of our conscience, not silencing it.
Behavior management, without a change of heart, leads to frequent failure and many attempts at self-justification to try to bury the voice of conscience. When our conscience is made silent, our desires are then free to dominate and control us without much resistance.
Harmful desires are difficult to dump. However, greater desires will displace destructive desires. But where can we find better desires to replace the harmful desires that are dominating our life? Not in self-focus. The desires we find there are selfish.
Higher desires are found by looking beyond self, by caring about people, by becoming intently aware of their pain, by developing compassion and empathy. All humans have the capacity for inspired desires, but they don’t happen automatically. Jesus said that we need to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Our conscience was given to guide us in that direction. If we dare to follow it, it will lead us toward God.
Shame and guilt are robbers that try to keep you hooked on unhealthy desires. To protect yourself from them, obey your conscience and ask for forgiveness when you don’t.