Reflections: What Do You Want? 8


What is your answer to “What do you want?” This is another revealing question. Is it wrong to ask it?

Last time, I covered the question, “Who are you?”, making a Babylon 5 reference as to how the army of light, led by the Vorlons, considered this the prime question. The Shadows, however, asked, “What do you want?” The Vorlons abhor the question. So, that begs the question: Is it really wrong to ask, “What do you want?”
The obvious reaction of Kosh to the question makes it clear it is repugnant to Vorlons.

The reasons might be obvious upon further thought. All major religions recognize that lust and desire can lead to ruin. There are many biblical admonitions against lust. More to the point, Buddha taught that desire lay at the foundation of discontent, and the devout Buddhist will meditate in an attempt to rid the self of desire.

Is that how God really views things, though? I’m going to give a few more Scripture references than the standard reflections piece has, but I will resist quoting them. You’ll have to followup and read them for yourself.

First and foremost, there are many instructions in the New Testament about prayer. We are to pray for the Kingdom (Mt 6:10). Why pray for it unless we are to desire it? Indeed, even the word “pray” means, more or less, to beg. The OT often uses “pray” instead of “please” or “I beg of you”. Jesus instructed His disciples that whatever they desired for they should pray in belief (Mk 11:24).

Jesus Himself often yearned for things. He yearned to have the last Passover with His disciples (Lk 22:15). Don’t forget His temporary desire to forego the crucifixion, thus showing us He really was human (Mt 26:39). That’s because He had a much higher desire. He desires us to be in His Kingdom! He also desires above all else to do the Father’s will (Jn 6:40), which is another word for desire.

Paul desired that the Jews would be saved (Ro 10:1). He said to “covet”, that is, earnestly desire, “the best gifts” (1Co 12:31).

The OT even talks a lot about desire, even though we often only think of the OT Law as “physical”, which is a trap. We are to go to the Feast of Tabernacles and buy what we desire (Dt 14:26). Joseph desired Rachel (Ge 29:18), and the Bible does not condemn it. Sexual desire within the confines of marriage is not a sin. Paul even says our bodies do not belong to one another if we are married (1Co 7:4-5). In spite of the fact that Paul extols the virtues of singleness in this chapter, he also does not want married people to deprive each other of their natural desires.

Of course, you may be thinking that the focus of “What do you want?” is upon what you can get, and you would be mostly right. It becomes more and more evident over time that what God wants is what we should want. That should be our desire. We should desire to be with Him in His Kingdom (Lk 12:31-32). Seeking the Kingdom requires desire, and we are reflecting the desire that God has for us to be in it.

In fact, we should want to be in the Kingdom so bad that Jesus uses the hyperbole of forcibly taking it (Mt 11:12). However, as we think more on this, it becomes obvious that it is hyperbole (for it must sit in the context of the rest of the NT), but it should illustrate the point.

Not only is it about the things we desire but how we desire them. We may desire food, but we should not resort to stealing. We may desire sexual relationships, but it should be in the confines of marriage. We may desire the Kingdom of God, but engaging in crusades undermines the very foundation of it. What use is it if we gain the entire world but lose our salvation (Mt 16:26)?

So, we can see that human philosophy will always fall short of the truth that God provides to us in His word. Desire in itself is not the enemy, but rather desire in gaining what does not rightfully belong to us is. In the long run, the ends does not justify the means. Rather, the means, the building of character, is the end goal.

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8 thoughts on “Reflections: What Do You Want?

  • teachercog

    Really like your end statement, “the means, the building of character, is the end goal.” To me this sums up the purpose of our physical life. If we have the right character, i.e. love, etc. then end goals will naturally reflect that character.

    God does not impose his end goal on us, rather he wants us to voluntary desire his end goal, the kingdom. Only those who truly desire this end goal will be there. That desire comes from the character that they have built.

  • John G

    John D,

    Interesting conclusion with writing: “…So, we can see that human philosophy will always fall short of the truth that God provides to us in His word. Desire in itself is not the enemy, but rather desire in gaining what does not rightfully belong to us is. In the long run, the ends does not justify the means. Rather, the means, the building of character, is the end goal.”

    Personally, I kind of just stick with Jesus’ words at the conclusion of Matthew 6, which read:

    Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
    34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
    Desire is not the enemy. Death is the last enemy. Satan is an enemy, but God has had something in mind for a long time, or as Jesus said:
    “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” Matthew 25:34

    God has something prepared for human beings, pictured by sheep (goats pictured Satan and his angels) from long ago, and He knows all of His works: Acts 15:18, Hebrews 4:3

    The Apostle Paul seemed to be aware that something was up too, for he said:

    “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, NOT imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Cor 5:18

    It isn’t talking about character, but something is going on. God is accomplishing reconciling the world unto Himself, but it must be done through Christ.

    Should we be looking to that reconciliation……and desire God accomplish it through Christ?

    John

    • John D
      John D Post author

      @John G wrote: Desire is not the enemy. Death is the last enemy. Satan is an enemy…

      Desire might not be “the” enemy, but wrong desires truly are an enemy. If death is an enemy, then truly death’s cause is as well.

      14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

      15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

      ~ Jas 1:14-15

      You also wrote: It isn’t talking about character, but something is going on. God is accomplishing reconciling the world unto Himself, but it must be done through Christ.

      And, what is the point if we are not developing the character of Christ in the process? After all, if reconciliation was the only real point, which is a predominan Protestant fallacy, then we should accept Christ and be done with it. We don’t either get whisked away or die right then, though, do we?

      33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

      ~ Mt 6:33

      His righteous character is a requirement to enter the Kingdom.

  • John G

    John D,

    You asked: “And, what is the point if we are not developing the character of Christ in the process?” and you concluded with saying: “His righteous character is a requirement to enter the Kingdom.”

    How do you come to that conclusion? Where did you get that?

    One may also further ask, “How are you developing that righteous character, and when can one be assured that one has developed enough “righteous character” to meet your requirement to “enter the Kingdom?”

    Matthew 6:33 reminds us of what to seek for, but it does not specify any “requirement to enter the Kingdom.”

    How will you qualify to meet your requirement in light of the following scriptures?

    O LORD, I know that the way of man is NOT IN himself: it is NOT IN man that walketh to direct his steps. Jer 10:23
    For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye CANNOT DO the things that ye would. Gal 5:17
    Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? James 4:5

    One does not just accept Christ (whatever that means) and be done with it. Which Christ?

    I believe the Apostle Paul was on to something when he wrote: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

    However God does that: I thank Him!

    • John D
      John D Post author

      John G asked: “How do you come to that conclusion? Where did you get that?”

      From the Bible. In fact, from the very verse you allude to but neglect to quote in its entirety.

      “Matthew 6:33 reminds us of what to seek for, but it does not specify any ‘requirement to enter the Kingdom.'”

      Wrong! However, thanks for playing.

      33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

      “Righteousness” is another way of saying “righteous character”, for righteousness is only righteousness if practiced on a continual basis.

      17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
       
      ~ Ro 14:17

      19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments [does not diligently develop righteous character, but slacks off in even the least way], and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
       
      ~ Mt 5:19

      21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
       
      ~ Mt 7:21

      So, yes, we must do something.

      10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
       
      ~ Mt 3:10

      Most of the time, though, the Bible expresses it in the negated form, such as:

      9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
       
      ~ 1Co 6:9

      And, it is beyond imputed righteousness. That is only the foundation. We ourselves must build the house. We must do something.

      21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things [i.e., those who do the opposite of practicing righteousness] shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
       
      ~ Gal 5:21

      And, of course, the above is followed immediately by the fruits of the Spirit, and by contrast means they are required to be in the Kingdom of God. So, really it is easy: Just perfectly develop the fruits of the Spirit and you have measured up to the righteous character of Christ and may enter the Kingdom.

      Obviously, none of us are capable of doing this, so we should be humbled and thankful that Christ fills the gaps, picks us up and encourages us to try again. However, the day we stop trying is the day we doom ourselves to barring our own selves from the Kingdom.

      Seriously, how can you claim to be a part of the COG movement and not know this? These are the basics that a white-haired man once pounded into people, and yet they still forget.

  • John G

    John D,

    My last post concluded with quoting 2 Cor 5:19, which stated: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” Do you know why? God does it! Does what?

    You use the phrase “righteous character,” which is nowhere found in the Bible, much like people cite the phrase “second coming,” which also is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Of course, people have to overlook Jesus Christ’s coming to earth a “second time” for a duration of about 40 days after His murder and burial for 3 days and 3 nights, but they go ahead make up a phrase, not in the Bible, and run with it.

    You said: “Just perfectly develop the fruits of the Spirit and you have measured up to the righteous character of Christ and may enter the Kingdom.” I ask: how do you perfectly develop those fruits of the Spirit, b/c you can’t do that? Those fruits are already perfect, and they are God’s fruits, not yours, and God gives out His fruits by measure (Romans 12:3,6) by His own will. Yes, faith may be increased, but it won’t happen unless God increases it. It’s not your choice. God doesn’t operate that way.

    If I could do as you suggest, then I could just qualify to be in God’s Kingdom on my own, but you and I, of and by ourselves, can’t do it.

    You also wrote: “However, the day we stop trying is the day we doom ourselves to barring our own selves from the Kingdom.”

    Well, if I/you can doom myself/yourself from God’s Kingdom by NOT DOING SOMETHING, then I/you must do something to enter that Kingdom….and thus save ourselves. It is earning salvation by one’s works, what one does.

    Incidentally, Satan and his angels are unrighteous and none of them will enter God’s Kingdom; all unrighteousness is sin!

    You concluded saying: “Seriously, how can you claim to be a part of the COG movement and not know this? These are the basics that a white-haired man once pounded into people, and yet they still forget.”

    That white-haired man lying on his death-bed did not have the confidence that he had qualified to enter the Kingdom of God, but he hoped God would “squeak” him in. Squeak is my word. He was hoping he had tried enough, done enough. It was as though that sacrifice of shed blood of the Passover Lamb (John 3:17, 16) wasn’t enough, but that salvation depended upon himself/HWA. Did it? Let’s hope not, b/c there would be a lot of unqualified. God is perfect; we are not.

    But you, I guess to cover all of the bases/basics, did say: “…so we should be humbled and thankful that Christ fills the gaps, picks us up and encourages us to try again.”

    Well, what is wrong with my believing the following?

    “Being confident of this very thing, that HE which hath BEGUN a good WORK IN you WILL PERFORM IT until the day of Jesus Christ:” Phil 1:6

    “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein HE HATH MADE us accepted in the beloved.” Eph 1:6

    Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.
    29 For whom HE DID FOREKNOW, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
    30 Moreover whom HE DID PREDESTINATE, them HE also called: and whom he called, them HE ALSO JUSTIFIED: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
    31 What shall we then say to THESE THINGS? If God be FOR us, who can be against us?”

    You wrote: “…21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    ~ Mt 7:21

    So, yes, we must do something…”

    What “something” would you do? I see where God surely does a lot in our lives!

    I believe this:

    “For it is God which WORKETH IN you both to will and TO DO of HIS good pleasure.” Phil 2:13

    Again, you wrote: “…so we should be humbled and thankful that Christ fills the gaps, picks us up and encourages us to try again.”

    There are huge gaps! It is very humbling and we are very thankful for what God accomplishes, by His Spirit, through Jesus Christ, and so I again conclude by simply saying I really do believe “…God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…”

    A day is coming when all human beings will admit and agree that God did all of that. They will even admit this:

    “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8

    God knows most today cannot and will not believe that, so God has that prophecy stored away in Isaiah, but will one day finally be a reality all human beings will acknowledge…and they will give all the glory, honor and praise to God, the Father.

    Have a good day!

    • John D
      John D Post author

      @John G: It is tiring when you take my statements out of context and pretend I said something I did not. I re-iterated several times that Jesus Christ enables us to fill the gaps. That is not doing it on our own, and it is a long way towards earning salvation. However, if you truly believe that you can sit back, coast and do nothing, then you are just as lost as the superstitious pagan who burns incense under the tree.

      You use the phrase “righteous character,” which is nowhere found in the Bible, much like people cite the phrase “second coming,” which also is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Of course, people have to overlook Jesus Christ’s coming to earth a “second time” for a duration of about 40 days after His murder and burial for 3 days and 3 nights, but they go ahead make up a phrase, not in the Bible, and run with it.

      Technically, you are correct about the term “second coming”, although I won’t condemn people for using it. Your argument is a non sequitor, nonetheless. Just because a phrase does not appear in the Bible, that does not make it incorrect. I have pointed that out several times, in fact, so you really should know better. What about “second resurrection”? That phrase is not in the Bible, either, or do you not believe in resurrections, plural, as a nonnegotiable (Heb 6:1-2)? What about “millennium”? That is not in the Bible. In fact, where in the Bible is “God did it all for me”? It does not exist in the Bible, either, so by your own arguments, you are making it up.

      No, God does not do it all for you. Jesus does not do it all for you. You have ignored several passages where I have pointed out that your actions matter. In fact, not only your actions but your very thoughts and reasons for doing anything at all. God does not possess you and make you do things. That is the tactic of the evil one. However, God will guide, He will prompt, He will stir up, and yet in the end God will also judge.

      God wants willing cooperation, but I guess that goes over your head. He cannot by divine fiat create holy, righteous character in a person. That person has to want it. As long as a Christian strives to overcome, which is a commandment, which means you must do something, then God will work with that person. However, the analogy of clay is apt, because Israel was told over and over again that they had stony hearts. The Holy Spirit is often likened to water, and it makes clay moldable. However, we can snuff out the Holy Spirit (1Th 5:19)! Your heart can once again turn to stone as the Holy Spirit stops its work.

      Saying you can earn salvation is a lot like the story of the proud drowning man. He fell into the water. He gasped for air. He could feel his body ache. Someone throws him a lifesaver, he grabs ahold of it and is pulled to shore. Does he get credit for hanging onto the lifesaver? Of course not. The person who pulled him to shore is the real hero. However, what if the drowning man let go? After all, he doesn’t need to do anything, right? His savior will do it all for him, right? That is you right now, drowning and refusing to take ahold of the lifesaver.

      That white-haired man lying on his death-bed did not have the confidence that he had qualified to enter the Kingdom of God, but he hoped God would “squeak” him in. …

      Really? Aren’t you putting words in someone else’s mouth again? Were you there? Did he tell you this?

      What “something” would you do? I see where God surely does a lot in our lives!

      Did you actually read the verse before commenting? What does it say to do? “he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Did you just gloss over that? It tells you who will enter the Kingdom of God. You must “doeth”! Logically, if you must do something, then doing nothing at all and saying, “God did it all for me”, is a guaranteed way to miss out. That is where you are heading right this minute.

      You have been warned.

  • John G

    John D,

    Thanks for the warning.

    You asked: “What about “second resurrection”? That phrase is not in the Bible, either, or do you not believe in resurrections, plural, as a nonnegotiable (Heb 6:1-2)?”

    Revelation 20:5 “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
    6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

    The Bible mentions a first resurrection. I do believe in a first resurrection that began a long time ago with the resurrection of the First of the sealed Firstfruits, Jesus Christ, the Groom, represented by the Wavesheaf offering, and will not be completed until the rest of the sealed Firstfruits are resurrected: the Bride, the 144,000. That Groom is blessed and He is holy. When that building of the Bride is completed it will resurrected and also be blessed and holy.

    I also believe in a second resurrection that comes over a 1,000 years after the first resurrection is completed; however, I do not believe in any 3rd resurrection b/c there God never had a need for such.

    So, yes, I do believe in resurrections.

    Have a delightful Sabbath!

    John