Desiring what we want when it is not what God wants is simply to have a selfish desire. Following our desires, rather than following what God wants, is sin. And NO, God does not just want for us to be happy, safe, and comfortable. God wants for the world to be saved and transformed by His truth and love, submitted to His will in an eternal love relationship. May we want and be about what God wants, so much so, that our testimony and lives are a declaration and confession of the very reality and presence of God Himself! —Jesse Rivers
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing; taking that nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Being found in appearance as man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the name that is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11
As a minister of the Gospel, missionary, servant-leader, evangelist, and follower and servant of Jesus Christ, I have found myself recently disturbed by a pervasive presence I have encountered in many places that are supposed to be created, dedicated, and functioning locations of worship, communion, and service to God. Has the church begun to want what the world wants more than we want what God wants?! I have seen many a church “ministry” look much more like the world than Christ… focused on appearance, finances, size and structure, ‘good’ programs rather than on a relentless relationship of intimacy with God, a passionate pursuit of the lost, an unashamed advocacy for the orphaned, widowed, abandoned and abused, and a desire for holiness, purity, integrity, and unwavering commitment to God’s model of love and life, rather than the world’s.
Wanting (to have a desire for something), in and of itself, is not a bad thing. In fact, if we wanted nothing at all we would not be able to live. For the very desire and ‘want’ to breathe activates and enables our bodies to respire and exist. However, we should be intentional with our wants. With family, we want (or should want) to please and bless our parents and siblings. Parents should desire the best for their children. At work , we want (or should want) to please our boss and be successful. In school, at all levels, we want (or should want) to achieve academic excellence to learn well the preparatory things to be able to thrive in work and/or ministry. In relationships we want (or should want) to love well, and be loved well.
However, a pervasive trend that is remarkably visible within the church is a profound selfishness and disconnectedness from the unity and central focus of what God calls us to want as a Body of Believers. Instead of being concerned about the entire body, we have churches and people so closed off to helping others that some parts of the body are ‘thriving’ while others are barely surviving! We opt to think “out of sight, out of mind” rather than having a passionate pursuit for a heart and mind of Christ Jesus. Or we blame the struggling parts of the body, without introspection of how the ‘failure’ may actually be partly our responsibility as well.
Have we made church the modern day marketplace? Are we selling goods and focused on profitability, rather than transformation of lives by the love, and for the glory, of God?!?! Are we investing in buildings, worship performance centers, and entertainment facilities while millions of millions of orphaned, persecuted, and expelled people are dying without knowing Jesus Christ and the freedom and love He offers?!
Jesus’ model of life was not to make people come to Him (though unfortunately that is quite the model of ‘church’ today)! Jesus, though many times tired and needing space for solitude and prayer, often worried more about the needs and concerns of others around Him than to focus on what He personally wanted in the moment. He went where the need was, regardless of the inconvenience and cost to Himself. Though being the very Son of God, He did not succumb to a selfish mentality of, “Well, I’m the Son of God! These people should serve and spoil me!” Instead, as the Philippians reference above shares, He modeled an attitude and lifestyle of humility and service, love for the lost, and a commitment to extending freedom that cost Him His life!
While we all truly want comfortable, easy, and lavished lives, when will we choose the things that God wants rather than our own selfish desires?! God’s plan for your life and mine is so much greater than what we could plan or want for ourselves. Let me share personally…
I have chosen to want what God wants more than what I, myself, want. It costs me everything… health, wealth, happiness, comfort… but the rewards are far greater than I would ever achieve by pursuing my own wants!! God has led me into more than 30 countries, led me to minister with dignitaries, allowed me to minister with professional athletes, actors, and famous people, led me to love on and serve children around the world, and allowed me to love on and be loved by the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich! I’ve seen dead come to life, sick healed, demons flee, joy and peace entering, victory and freedom come, restoration and healing rise up, and lives around the world transformed by what God wants! While there have also been horrific tragedies and trials, and it’s not all roses and fairytales, being a part of the miracle and ministry of what God wants is supernaturally and eternally filling!
I am no one special amongst humans, though special to God! But I have chosen to pursue what God wants, and my life and this world are better because of it!! I’ve touched eternity and have seen and felt God’s pleasure and delight, as I serve Him and seek what He wants! Will you also choose what God wants for you and your life?! Tell Him that He can have His way in you, and then watch what an incredible journey He will take you on!! Let us want what God wants!!