“God, What do you want from me?”
I think in life and at different seasons we find ourselves asking God “what is it that you want from me?” Perhaps we find ourselves asking that when we’re in great need of something, and it’s not happening, so in exasperation we cry out to God “if it’s anything I’ve done/I am doing wrong please tell me- I’ll correct it. What is it that you want from me? I don’t know what to do anymore?”
Or, we consume ourselves with when, where, and how is the answer going to come- in what form? And we want it now. As my dad says, we live in an instant generation. “We want instant coffee instead of a slow roasted cup of quality coffee; a quick TV dinner instead of cooking a dinner from scratch; Jiffy boxed cornbread instead of making cornbread from real corn meal; and instant grits instead of slow cooked grits. This generation doesn’t know what it means to wait on God.” For the Germans to understand- Germans probably don’t know what it is to make homemade knödel but they know about boxed knödel. For the British, the average Brit may not know what it means to make homemade Yorkshire pudding, but they know about frozen Yorkshire pudding.
But I’d argue that with God, the answer to “what is it that you want from me” is simpler than we often think it is.
I once heard the senior pastor of Berlin International Community Church, Steve Mack say, “When we look at the character of God in the Bible, we see He is passionate about His glory, His Word, and people. He wants us to be passionate about those things too!”
God wants us to love Him with all our hearts, souls and minds; to love others as ourselves; to be obedient; He wants us to do justly; to love mercy; and to walk humbly with Him.
What does this mean? / What does this look like?:
1). God wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength:
This means putting Him first and throwing away any distractions that prevents us from making Him first. It means letting go of relationships- platonic and romantic that makes God second; letting go of worldly lusts- sexual desires or wanting to be famous; or not getting wrapped up too much in work if it’s making God second.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.” -Matthew 22: 36-38, NIV
2). To love others as ourselves:
We’re to think of ourselves more soberly and think of others more higher than ourselves. We’re to make time to help people. We’re to give back to our communities and our world.
“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” –Matthew 22: 39-40, NIV
3). To be obedient:
“But Samuel replied, "What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” -1 Samuel 15:22
Any parent or person that has worked with children will state that when their child or student obeys them they are happy. A disobedient child causes chaos and disorder to a superiors’ home (or classroom). God wants us to obey His rules because they ultimately protect us.
Look at Joshua. When he was faced with the battle of Jericho, Joshua submitted in obedience to God by bowing to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (the Lord Himself) and there he recognized God’s greatness and his own smallness. Then he asked, “What message does my Lord have for His servant?”(Joshua 5:14). Joshua experienced victory at Jericho because he followed the Lord’s instructions.
But, later in Joshua 9:14, Joshua did not obey God. As a result, the Israelites were deceived into making a peace treaty with the people of Gibeon, enemies in the land of Canaan. This displeased the Lord (verses 3-26).
When we don’t obey God and seek our own way we end up hurting ourselves.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. –Micah 6:8, NIV
4). To love mercy:
I’d argue that before humans can understand what it means to do justly OR what it means to be merciful to others, we must understand that we’re caught in God’s grace and mercy. We can’t buy our way into heaven, we can’t pray enough or do works to win God’s mercy. He chooses to love us and be merciful to us. We’ll tire ourselves out trying to win His mercy by doing works, not realizing we already have it.
When we understand the gift of mercy that God gives to us (and we give our lives to Christ), then we’ll inevitably want to be merciful to others- to show compassion and empathy. The Fruits of the Spirit will naturally and organically pour out of us. And though we will have to fight against flesh to keep the moral laws (10 Commandments), we will have God’s strength and Word to help us do justly.
5). He wants us to do justly:
To do what is right- what He has outlined in His Word. To strive and keep the moral laws- the 10 Commandments. To be forgiving. To not harbor anger. To show love.
6). To walk humbly with Him:
To totally submit ourselves to Him and let Him have authority in our lives. To pray daily. To study His Word. To turn the other cheek when someone mistreats us. To wait on His timing. God rarely does instant coffee, cornbread, knödel, or Yorkshire pudding. His plan is always best so that means He’s gonna cook up the real cornbread, knödel, or Yorkshire pudding.
This is a heart thing. God wants our hearts and He’s working to make us more like His son. It’s not about our skills. He knows the skills He has given us; He knows what we can do- and yes- He wants us to use those skills for the purpose of serving our generation. But, when we truly reach a level in our Christian walk with God and we’re passionate about the things He’s passionate about, and we love Him first, seek to be obedient, do justly, exercise mercy on others, and we walk humbly with Him then He’s got our hearts.
It’s a journey and it takes time to get to this place in life and understand these things, to want these things, and truly live them out. We can’t get there with an instant box of anything. It takes years and will always be an ongoing process in some ways. When He has our hearts- serving His kingdom in whatever form doesn’t become a boring religious ritual. We’re in Him for the long haul. And He will reveal the when, where, and how in time. He just has a few simple things He wants us to understand first.