Our desires can be godly and can be ungodly. A Christian and indeed a sane person is expected to be able to determine doing what is good and edifying rather than doing that which is unedifying and therefore ungodly. Titus 2: 11-12 says “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.” (KJV). By certain operational definition or usage desire and passion are synonymous like a feeling of sexual desire. When perverted, it becomes ungodly whereas sexual desire between lawfully wedded couple is a way to satisfying each other ‘s legitimate controlled passion. King David was perpetually desiring to please God such that even when he sinned, he never waited to be forced to confess his sins to God and ask for forgiveness as we see in Psalm 51. He had passion for having God to be his guide, strength and armor, and that was what enabled him to defeat the much dreaded Goliath and put the Philistines to shame. Conversely, he desired to have Uriah’s wife who he saw bathing afar off at a time he ought to be at the war front. The desire or passion or love by infatuation that ruled his heart was ungodly as the woman was not his wife. Not that he did not realize it was sinful, the irrational desire led to irresistible action that followed. It earned him the wrath of God that manifested in various calamities that befell his household. These included the death of the child born out of wedlock, Amnon raped his half sister, and was killed by Absalom. Absalom staged a palace coup that forced David into exile for a time. David lost his most dependable confidant or counselor called Ahistophel and Absalom ruined his own chance of possibly becoming king over Israel. 2 Samuel 13: 22- 18: 9 (NIV)
Nabal had passion for for amassing wealth. He only wanted to be getting and not to be giving to benefit others. The Nabal-David encounter reminds us of the consequence of ungodly desire. God blessed Nabal and David helped to care for his sheep in the wilderness; but when David asked for some food for his army, Nabal bluntly refused with disparaging remarks about David. David wanted to avenge the wickedness of Nabal but Abigael, Nabal’s wife prevailed over David. A few days later Nabal died. David had to thank God that saved him from taking revenge, because it is God’s saying that “Vengeance is mine.”
Any action that does not conform with the fruits of the spirit can be classified as evil desires or ungodly passion like lust, covetousness, or gratifying the desires of the flesh. Ephesians: 2: 4-5 is very relevant to this discussion. It is expected of believers to fear the Lord and make every effort to have positive desires and passions to be able to fulfill the admonition in Galatians 5: 16-17 that says: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires (lusts) what is contrary to the Spirit” (NIV) This discourse is aptly summarized in Galatians 5: 19-21 on one part and 22-23 on the other. There is therefore a dichotomous relationship between the acts of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissection, factions and envy, drunkenness orgies and the like, I warn you as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.” Samson, the Nazirite, dedicated to the Lord from the womb lost his anointing because of his uncontrollable lust (desire) for Delilah. King Nebuchadnezzar’s desire and lust for power made him berated God that enabled him build an empire and got sentenced to become an inhabitant of the forest for seven seasons interpreted to mean seven years. Daniel 4: 28-32.