Inklings: The Five Levels of Desire

Dave Title

Dave Gilpin, Senior Pastor Hope City Church


Quite a while ago, I double booked a date with Jen, and made a massive error telling her I’d cancel my other plans but it would be a bit of a sacrifice – and in classic Jenny Gilpin form she replied that if it was going to be such a sacrifice, then I could put dinner where the sun don’t shine!

I have a feeling it’s the same with God. We can be so full of complaints and find ourselves dragging our feet, thinking ‘Do I have to?’  I want to say on behalf of God, if it is going to be such a sacrifice, then you can place your obedience where the sun don’t shine!

God trades in love, and love trades in desire. If you have lost your desire then you’ve lost the ‘magic’ that started the whole thing. God is looking for a desire of Him that changes what you do from a demand to a delight.

Psalm 37:4 says, ‘take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.’

Why would God give you the desires of your heart, unless that is His will? It seems to me that the will of God is wrapped with the wrapping paper of desire.


God is crazy about your desires for a number of reasons.

1) It reveals love. Spontaneous presents are the best, because there was no need: just love.

2) It reveals worship. Real worship needs options: it needs to be something you choose, not something you choke on.

3) It reveals real excellence. After 33 years of marriage, if Jen repeatedly reminds me of a job that needs doing it moves from being a delight to a demand. If something is a demand, I will only do it half well, but if I do it out of delight, I will do it brilliantly.


There are five levels of our desires we need to get in touch with.

1) A Liking – An attraction, curiosity, inclination, soft spot or a fancy.
The mildest kind of desire.

2) An InklingA niggle, itch, restlessness or an unease.
You steamroll your inklings when you’re led too long by ‘I’ve got to.’ Come back to the inklings.

3) A SearchingA wanting, yearning, eagerness, excitement or an urge.
What you are currently desiring is possibly your future. Everything starts with a hunger.

4) A HankeringA pining, craving, fervour or an aching.
There’s an unease in you that’s trying to push you out of your nest of predictability and comfort into the new pathway.

5) An ObsessingA driven-ness, smitten-ness, infatuation, consuming or an addiction.
Level Five desires have led to most of the greatest breakthroughs in science and invention.


There are four layers of emotion we need to carve through before we reach the layer where our desires meet with God’s will.

The Four Layers of Emotion:

  • Our Volatile Emotions

Anger, spite, hate, recklessness, rage, jealousy (mixed with the virtuous emotions of the fruits of the Spirit).

  • Our Vulnerable Emotions 

Anxiety, fearfulness, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, rejection, inferiority.

  • Our Visionary Emotions

Desire to win, be significant, live for a higher cause, to make a mark.

  • Our Victorious Emotions

Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Joy contains the impulses of your deepest desires.


To dig down into your deeper emotions in order to discover God’s will for your life, you need an altar. A rededication of your ambition to God, saying, ‘everything I have is yours’, and then refuse to be squeezed into the pattern of thinking in this world. Stop being overwhelmed by the top layer volatile emotions and dig down until you find the deep-seated emotions of peace and joy. That’s where your deep desires live.


To learn more about Dave Gilpin or Hope City Church, visit

Dave Gilpin
April 8, 2019

2 thoughts to “Inklings: The Five Levels of Desire”

Camille Alabaster says:

Can I use this for That 1000 please? We are a group of creative women, sending out God’s message of love and Grace to ‘that 1000’ through the creative gifts God gave us when he, The Creator, created us in is image.

Joanna Mikac says:

Sure thing Camille!

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