The Opposite of Sehnsucht


August 23

We were made for another world and until Jesus returns, we can’t help but ache for it. C.S. Lewis called that longing sehnsucht (and I write a lot about it).

But there’s another part of us that longs for this world, and it’s why James had to write:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel… You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! (James 4:1-4a).

We get the term hedonist from this Greek word for “passions.” John Piper calls Christian Hedonism the conviction that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.[i]

But the opposite?

Seeking satisfaction in this present world, like Demas did:

[There] is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me… (2 Tim. 4:7-9)

Falling in love with the world is cheating on the Bridegroom who has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:3). It’s forfeiting the fullness of his presence.

Worldly desires are empty, James says:

“…You do not have… cannot obtain… do not receive…”

It’s the opposite of sehnsucht, because sehnsucht burns for another eternal world, where Jesus will fill our heart-hole to its brim.

In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11).

. . .

[i] DesiringGod, Christian Hedonism. (Retrieved from

4 thoughts on “The Opposite of Sehnsucht

  1. I like this, Bethany! It makes me think of a George MacDonald quote: “Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm very true. Loving this world is very deadly. We still look at the forbidden fruit of sin and listen to the age old lie. “ did God really say?” We see it’s pleasing to they eye and devour it. Only to find sorrow.

    What you wrote is truth that I needed to hear. As to not cling the the world and cheat on Christ. But cling to Christ and enjoy him. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the “forbidden fruit” reference is so true. we’ve been hungry for God’s perfect presence since adam fell, and so we try to cram worldly things into our heart-hole. but nothing else satisfies.

      thank you for reading!


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