In Genesis 2, God is talking to Adam, “You need somebody suitable to help you. I’m going to make somebody for you. It’s going to be just right for you.” God brings all the animals and says, “Let’s see what we can find.” So Adam’s naming all the animals. You have to wonder, though, why does God do this?

I believe Adam was being given a firm realization of his own longings. Many Christians are confused about this. We oftentimes think that any longing or passion that we have — because it seems to spring from our heart — is automatically evil. However, not every longing you have is inherently wrong.

In Genesis, we’re told no fit helper was found for Adam, so God takes a rib out of him and makes a woman. Adam sees her and says, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23, ESV). When scripture says ‘this at last,’ the Hebrew can be translated in several different ways; one would be along the lines of ‘finally’ or ‘it’s about time.’ There’s been this burning desire in Adam’s soul, and God has finally called him to satisfy this longing in his heart.

A legitimate longing is one that God brings to you. Longing for worship, community, building a life with a spouse, ministry. The moment that we begin to believe there is satisfaction beyond God, however, we run into trouble. Let’s take money, for instance. Everybody needs money to pay your bills and have a place to live. Longing for money in order to successfully care for a family or live responsibly is not wrong. If we want money to buy ourselves security or other selfish reasons, it takes on an illegitimate form. Similarly, longing for a relationship is not wrong, unless you are forcing it through your own power. Longings can be corrupted, but they are often born out of something God spoken into our hearts.

You and I were intended to love people. This is not just a story of marriage. It goes broader than that. God created us to be with one another, to love one another, to have fellowship, to share our lives together with one another. Our selfish longings will build us up or separate us from others. Our God-given longings will always build on love for one another.