Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Yesterday I happened to speak at my church where I was given the task of preaching on 1 Corinthians 13. Within that sermon, I made a point on love not seeking its own. I would like to expand on that point in today’s blog as I continued thinking on it throughout the day.
Go to any department store or grocery store and watch children with their parents in line begging for something like a piece of candy. What is their reason that they always give for why their parents should buy that for them?
“I WANT IT!”
As Christians, we’re told to not seek our own but the good of others. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting something for yourself to an extent. You need the basic necessities of life. However, your main priority is to be the Kingdom and we are told that we ought to esteem others as better than ourselves and be seeking their good more than our own.
We are to be childlike indeed, but we are not to be childish, and yet so many times we are. We each seek simply what we want and who cares about anything else? There are times that things don’t go our way and we don’t get what we want. What are we to do then? Grow up and deal with it. God never promises to give us everything we want.
But what is our problem? Is it that we want things? Could it be that the Buddha was right after all and the key to happiness is to extinguish our desires? Would it be better if we did not want anything after all?
C.S. Lewis said that the problem is not that our desires are too strong but rather that they are too weak. We do not want that which we ought to want and want what we ought not want. Where our desires can be for the right object, they can often be not in the right proportion. We are told to seek first the kingdom of God because too often we’re too busy seeking our own kingdom.
What we often think with our petty wants is that we want something and we want it then and so since we do, we ought to have it then and because the world doesn’t go the way that we want it to, we get angry about it. Though we may not agree with the stoic philosophers in all they said, they had a great truth in saying that our happiness ought not to be dependent on the contingent external circumstances around us. We as Christians should seek our ultimate happiness in God.
We can have other things that can bring us happiness and if we get them, that could be good. If not, oh well. We don’t get everything right now. For instance, my wife and I like many of you at this time are concerned about our finances with my just having a part-time job and donations being down. The problem with worry is saying “If we do not have what we need right now, we will never have it” forgetting that in this very passage Jesus tells us to seek the kingdom and not worry about what we need. Just trust God to provide.
But if that provision is not here right now, it can be difficult.
Of course, a lot of the idea of what we want is the problem of sin. A young couple wants to have sex without having the burden of going through marriage, and so they just go for what they want. A person wants justice against an enemy and rather than wait on God to provide it someday, decides that murder is a better option. Someone wants an object he cannot get and rather than go out and work for it and earn it, he decides upon thievery.
Being the way we are, we also take this attitude and put it onto God.
“Well if God wants everyone to be saved, obviously, He should just give everyone a grand vision of Himself and prove He exists right now!
See. God doesn’t exist!”
This is actually a common argument that can be seen in atheistic circles. If God existed, He would do something like this. Why think this is the case however? Do we not often think we know the best way to get something that we want and it turns out that that isn’t so because there are other factors in the situation that we overlook?
Yet somehow, we think we have it all figured out when how it should be that God goes about His plan.
Perhaps if we wish to argue the existence of God, we should argue from truths that we know rather than speculations about what should be?
Then, we need to change our desires. We need to desire the things of God more and if we do not, we need to ask why. There is some good in all that we want, but we need to ask ourselves if we are really wanting the good.
We don’t want to be children after all.