What Does God Really Want?
I want! I want! How often to do people, even committed Christians, talk about what they want? Of course there are times when wanting something is entirely appropriate and even good. But I am talking about a belief system where what I want has to be subordinate to what God wants in my life.
Christian, whether you know this or not, when we said yes to Jesus being our Lord and Savior, we gave up all rights to our lives. Most of the time we don’t live as that being the gospel truth! We will pray, read the Scriptures, worship, do some service acts every so often, but mostly we just go about our daily lives living for us and not for the Lord.
I decided to do some Scripture study to see what I could find about what God really wants. To no surprise there is much that the Bible teaches on this subject. Before I share some of these with you, remember that everything our faith teaches is important, but some things have a higher importance than others. The higher importance is what I am about to share.
For openers, when a teacher of the law asked Jesus what is the most important commandment in the Law, he was asking Jesus to prioritize, essentially grade which commandment is the ultimate. Jesus answer, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:27-39).
Now we believers have heard this Scripture forever, but stop for a minute and think of the magnitude of Jesus’ answer. According to Jewish Law there were 613 commandments in the Law. So of the 613, Jesus summarizes the entire package with two laws. So basically this is saying, if I love God with my entire being, and love others as I love myself, then I am encompassing all of the 613 commandments.
So here is a way for us to test whether we are doing a good job exemplifying these two laws. Look over what you have written the last year on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any social media, and ask, “Do these statements reflect my loving God and loving others as I love myself?” Based on what I have read Christians saying about the recent presidential election, the pandemic, social issues like race, and comments about fellow believers they disagree with, I would conclude that many of the faith don’t know the first thing about what Jesus declared.
This is just for openers. How about Matthew 23:23, where Jesus declares, “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the Law – justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.” (Emphasis added).
Do your hear Jesus? The more important things: Justice, mercy, and faith! Again look over social media of the things written and ask, “Do I show concerns about justice? Do I show concerns about mercy? Do I trust God?” A lot of what I see Christians writing about is pronouncements of judgment on everyone and everything. Where is the concern about justice for those crying out for it? Where is the attitude of mercy, especially when people are sorry for wrongdoing? Where is the trust in God, when things don’t go “our” way politically or socially?
How about this favorite Scripture from the Old Testament, Micah 6:8. “O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Doing right means what it says, do the right thing always. We already mentioned mercy in Matthew 23:23, but here it says “to love mercy”. Do we really love to be merciful, especially to enemies? A truly sobering thought! To walk humbly is to make sure that our speech and actions reflect the character of God in our lives. If we want to influence non believers, we have to act with more genuine humility, otherwise we become true hypocrites.
One more Scripture that challenges me, Deuteronomy 10:12-13. “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires you to fear him, to live according to his will, to love and worship him with all your heart and soul, and to obey the Lord’s commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good.”
What a lineup? We need to have a healthy fear or respect of God. Do we live like that is a reality? We live according to his will. Did we see that: his will, not mine! We sure better discover what that is. We then worship him with our entire being. Do we take enough time in our lives to do that, or is our time with God (assuming we have one) is just about asking Him for our needs? Finally, obedience! This simply means if God is telling you or showing you something, our only response is “yes, Lord.”
If we live out just these Scriptures I mentioned, I have no doubt our lives will be better off, and we can make a true positive impact in the world around us. Just like God would want.