The thing about wants is…we want them! We want a better job. A vacation. A promotion. A home of our own. Love. Lower gas prices. A little peace and quiet. A Krispy Kreme donut.
That’s us. Wants are part of who we are as human beings. And if we’re not careful they could steal life away to our dying day. Jason Lehmen, as a fourteen year old, had the amazing foresight to see this danger and described it in a poem he titled Present Tense:
It was spring but it was summer I wanted.
The warm days and the great outdoors.
It was summer, but it was fall I wanted.
The colorful leaves and the cool, dry air.
It was fall, but it was winter I wanted.
The beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter, but it was spring I wanted.
The warmth and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted.
The freedom and the respect.
I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted.
To be mature and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged, but it was 20 I wanted.
The youth and the free spirit.
I was retired, but it was the middle age I wanted.
The presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over, but I never got what I wanted.
That could happen to anybody. We want this. We want that. But even if we get this or that… we still want something else. Something beyond what we already have.
James spoke of this problem in the last half of his letter which is now part of the New Testament. He described a person who is dead set on getting what they want – to the point of fighting and even killing. But even then, after the dust settles, they’re right back to where they started. Wanting something else. Something more.
Is that just something we have to accept? A life of unfulfilled wants? Always wanting?
It depends, James says, on what you want. James challenges us to make a want exchange.
What if we exchanged our wants for whatever God wants? What if our primary want was to live for His pleasure above our own (v.3), to be as close to God as humanly possible (v.10)? How would that impact us and our wants? Would anything change?
If our primary desire was to live for God’s pleasure, we’d want what He wants. We’d wake up each day asking Him to lead us in whatever path He chooses. We’d want our life to be about Him above all else. And then our wants would fall in line with His wants. But it’s a day by day choice. (For more about this choice, check out this related post: What Does God Want From Me?)
So what do you want out of life? How about “whatever God wants”. Try that out and see how it impacts your life. In spite of your circumstances, you might even find yourself saying, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it”. Right here, right now. That’s what God wants. And that’s what I want too. What about you?
by David Gudgel