This time we look at part two of our miniseries called What do you Want? It’s a big question to examine and deep down we are all wondering, what is the meaning of life and what do I want in life? There are many ways to answer this question but let’s begin by sitting with Jesus.
A Moment with Jesus
Imagine with me for a couple minutes. You go out for a walk to a favourite spot to rest and reflect. Maybe you’re sitting on a park bench, maybe you find yourself alone at the beach. You’re sitting quietly just enjoying the beauty and the moment. Jesus comes along and sits down next to you. You know it’s him. He sits quietly for a minute or two and you rest in his presence. Being with him doesn’t demand anything. It is calm. Then he looks over at you and asks “What do you want?” It’s an honest question. Give yourself a couple moments. What is your answer?
Your answer will point towards your desire. As we looked at in part one on June 20, often in religious circles the way we deal with desire is to try to kill it. The cultural answer, on the other hand, is to try and fulfill every desire we feel. Both of these can be unhealthy extremes. Just as emotions make a good check engine light, but a poor driver, desire makes a good map, but a dangerous god. So, what is the Jesus way of dealing with desire?
First, we need to recognize that Jesus takes our desires seriously. Our ability to desire is created and given by Jesus himself. Ultimately, our desires are supposed to point us towards him. As humans we get this confused and are sometimes led astray by our desires, but this is not the intention of desire. Desire is necessary as it is a close cousin of hope. If we have no desire, we have no hope. In fact, if desire is dead, we usually find ourselves in despair. The ability to desire shows us that there is something better awaiting us. Chapter 11 in Hebrews, known as the ‘hall of faith’ chapter, illustrates this.
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Heb 11:13-16)
These heroes of the faith in the Old Testament desired a better country, they knew that something better was awaiting them than what they could find on earth, even though they could not see it. In faith they trusted God to fulfill his promises. Without desire they would not have been able to imagine the possibility of something better. Without desire there would have been no hope or faith. In following their longing for something better, they allowed God to lead them in his story.
What do you want?
So what do you want? What you want is a question we must all answer because it tells us where we are at currently. You’ve probably heard the saying, “you are what you love.” This is because where our treasure is, there our heart is also (Matt 6:20-21).
Jesus takes our desires seriously because after all he created them. Even if some of our desires are foolish, Jesus doesn’t condemn us for having those desires. Jesus meets us where we are at. Jesus met the woman at the well in the midst of her desire and pointed her to what she actually needed – living water (John 4).
The fact is, I will do almost nothing without some sort of desire. A few years back I started playing ice hockey for the first time. I had a desire to try it and to play. However, after playing for a few years, I no longer had a desire to improve my game to the next level. I could have done extra skating, practiced by myself and stick handled in my backyard. I simply didn’t have the desire. My desire was to get exercise and have fun. I discovered there were other ways of doing those things that ended up being more fun for me than being a mediocre ice hockey player. Our desire will drive us, or not, as the case may be.
A Bigger Dream?
What if, as we talked about on June 20, desire in and of itself is good? We can of course express our desires in unhealthy ways, or our desires can become corrupted, but what if the core desire was good? If we can say that our desires are good… then can we say that our desires, rather than being too big, are sometimes actually too small? How many times have you had an idea and then proceeded to talk yourself out of it? That will never work. I don’t have the time/money/talent… People won’t like it. It’s too hard. What if we need to dream bigger rather than safer?
We have big dreams, but we downplay them and go for something safe. We set attainable desires for ourselves because we know we can achieve them. The problem is that setting attainable desires rules out the element of faith. Sometimes our biggest desires are only possible with Jesus. “God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less.”
Desire points us towards the fact that there is something more. When we feel like there should be more to life than this, it is because there is. We ARE created for more than this. We were created for the things we can see, but not grasp. So, what do you want? What do you desire? Jesus has created you for something specific and special. You have a role to play.
What did you think about when you spent a few minutes sitting with Jesus? This is your first clue to discovering your desire. Desires allows us to step out in faith and long for something more and better. What desires do you have that are positive dreams you’ve never acted on? What is holding you back?
How can you take your desires to Jesus and ask him to help you with them? Do you have a big dream that you’ve never followed because it seems too hard? What if you prayed bold prayers to Jesus? Just like the Old Testament saints foresaw, there is something better awaiting us. Our desire is meant to lead us on that path. Go ahead and dream and desire with Jesus!