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.