What Does God Want? This question sounds complicated. After all, God is so "big" and "mysterious." Just the thought of answering this question might be overwhelming. Surprisingly, the answer is easier than one would think. The question is, would you like to know what God wants with you individually? What God wants of you, from you? If you knew, how would you respond to the information? Would you cooperate with God? Maybe partner with Him? Fall in love with Him and what He is doing? Does your response to the first question depend on the answer to the others?
Well, you can know what He wants, and it is quite simple. God wants a relationship! God wants a close, personal, loving, intimate relationship with you!
Perspective #29: God wants a close, personal, loving, intimate relationship with you!
This relationship with God is not just any relationship. After all, satan has a "relationship" with God, although not a very good one. A true “relationship” with God is more than just a basic knowledge of Him, this is a close, deep friendship, a loving relationship, a partnership where you cooperate with Him and are obedient to Him and His commands. Where you honor who He is, what He says and wants for your life, your purpose! This relationship is close, personal and intimate, similar to a wonderful marriage relationship where you know each other so well you can finish each other's sentences.
Unfortunately, you have a problem. You see, God is Perfect, Righteous, Holy, True and so much more and you, not so much! Your problem is, you are a sinner and for that matter, so am I, we all are.
The Bible says: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
The all here is you, me, everyone. So how can a righteous, Holy God have a relationship with a sinful human being? The truth is, He can’t. Because God is Righteous, Holy and Just, He must judge and punish ALL sin! If He does not, then He couldn’t be Righteous, Holy, or Just. He couldn’t be God. Who He is, demands that He judge and punish ALL sin!
This is where Jesus comes in. You see, God judged and punished Jesus for ALL of your sin, past, present, and future, even though He had not sinned. Which then allows God to accept the punishment Jesus endured on your behalf and to declare you righteous like He is. When He does this, you are now clean, free from your burden of sin because it has been judged and punished on the cross of Jesus Christ. Which in turn, allows you to enter a close, personal, loving, intimate relationship with God because now nothing is interfering with your relationship with God. If desired, your sin debt has been “paid in full” by Jesus Christ. Which, is what He wants! He remains pure and Holy because He has judged and punished your sin and you get a “get out of jail free” card. Such a deal!
When you enter a "relationship" with God, there is only one thing you must do, and that is to receive the gift of His Son Jesus Christ. There is nothing else for you to do, nothing for you to change, nothing for you to stop doing. God has already done everything needed for you to have and enter a relationship with Him. All you need to do is enter this relationship through faith in Jesus Christ, faith that Jesus paid the price you owed for the sins you’ve committed. The Bible is all about keeping this "relationship" simple.
The Bible says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Your "relationship" with God is a gift from God, but like any gift, it is a gift that you must receive and open. You can't just leave it on the shelf. You see, sin interferes with and destroys your relationship with God. You may not be able to see yourself covered in sin, but God can. Since sin cannot enter His presence because He is Perfect, Righteous, Holy, and True, He needed to judge and punish your sin before you could have a relationship with Him. Since Jesus Christ took your judgment and your punishment for you, all you need to do is receive and open the gift that He is. Jesus Christ is God's chosen way for you to enter a relationship with Him. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way for you to engage in this relationship as God has not defined or prescribed any other way. What this means is that Jesus Christ is the bath you need to take to be cleansed of all of your sin-past, present, and future!
Perspective #30: Jesus Christ is the bath you need to take to be cleansed of all your sin-past, present, and future!
Said another way, God has prepared the bath (Jesus Christ) you need to take to cleanse you from the dirt of your sin. All you need to do is agree to take the bath!
Perspective #31: God has prepared the bath (Jesus Christ) you need to take to cleanse you from the dirt of your sin. All you need to do is agree to take the bath!
It is important for you to understand that God accepts you exactly as you are and in your current condition. Then He works with you and grows you to gradually remove the things in your life that interfere with your relationship with Him. The only thing that is required is a belief that His Son Jesus Christ came and died for your sins. For you to repent (turn away) from your sins, then for you to receive this gift of grace from Him, and finally for you to desire a close, personal, loving, intimate relationship with Him as well. It IS that simple.
Sin is bondage, religious law and legalism are bondage, religion is bondage, atheism is bondage. There is only one loving relationship, and it needs to be our focus, our priority. The Bible is true and can be trusted. In it, you will find what God says about Himself, and His perspective of Himself, this too can be trusted. Get to know Him, spend time with Him, invest time in your relationship with Him and fall more in love with Him.
Understand your enemy has a lot of tactics and strategies he uses to interfere with your relationship with God, sin is one of the biggest. Choose to "invest" in your relationship with Him, "grow" your relationship with Him, get to "know" Him, who He is and what He's like. When you start doing this, you can then begin to live out your relationship with Him.
Back when I was throwing my 12-year temper tantrum and chose to stop talking to God, I didn't have very many options. What else could I do? I'm a finite being trying to punish an infinite being. I figured that with my "limited" power the only thing I could do was NOT talk to Him. Unfortunately, what I didn't realize at the time was, that was one of the most painful things I could do to Him. Just ask someone who loves you dearly, "How does it feel when I do not talk to you?" You might want to add a second question, "How would you feel if I ignored you for 12 years?"
Imagine with me for a minute…
You just got married and got back from your two-week honeymoon. You had a wonderful time together, and then they say or do something that ticks you off. I'm sure this has never happened to you, but what if it did? How do you think they would feel if you gave them the cold shoulder and ignored them, not for 12 years, but let's say for a week? A month?
I will almost guarantee you that their response will be hurt. Your spouse, will be heartbroken and sad, maybe even mad, right? They may even second guess their decision to marry this jerk.
Now put yourself in God's shoes. His love for you is profound and very far-reaching, it is a "choice" He has made. He has “chosen” to love you! How do you think He feels when you ignore Him? Disobey Him? Are rude, vulgar or disrespectful to Him or use His name in vain?
I can't take back the 12 years I spent mad at God, being disobedient to Him, disrespecting Him. However, I can apologize, repent and surrender again to Him. Tell Him I'm sorry and that I want what He wants - a close, personal, loving, intimate relationship.
Your next question may be, "How do we know that God wants a relationship with us?"
That is another excellent question. First, that's what God had with humanity in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. That was His purpose for creating us in His image. That is what sin destroyed. That is what Jesus' death on the cross restores. And that is what He's been trying to get back all along, a relationship with you! The purpose of this series is not only to show you WHAT God wants, but also to explain WHY He wants this and HOW you can want it as well. When we gain knowledge of Him, we also gain perspective of what He wants. They partner with each other to help us fall in love with Him.
As I'm sure you already know, any relationship requires work, requires effort. The more time and effort you invest in your relationships, the better those relationships are. The more time you spend getting to know the other person, the more you fall in love with them and appreciate their love for you. For example, when my wife and I got married 14 years ago, I loved her. However, I can tell you that my love for her today is far deeper, far richer than it was 14 years ago. In fact, I'm not sure I knew back then you could love someone this much. And the cool thing is, the more the two of us work on and grow our relationship with each other, the more effort we put into it, the greater, the stronger, the deeper our love for each other gets.
How does knowing that God desires a relationship with you make you feel? You might say, with ME???? Really??? Wow!!! Why???
I'm sure these are just some of the responses you might have to this statement. Nevertheless, is the fact that God loves you, is pursuing you and wants a relationship with you so hard to believe? Some people may say, "Of course God wants a relationship with me, I'm so awesome,” however, for most of us, when we evaluate this thought we ask, "Why? Isn't He all knowing? Doesn't He know who I am? What I've done? Can't He see my thoughts and how corrupt and impure they are?"
Look at me. My first perspective of God was that He was this big evil cosmic bully in Heaven who had nothing better to do than to pick on poor little (innocent) me and watch me suffer! I found out that was the furthest thing from the truth, but why was it so easy for me to believe the lie? I mean, I bought it hook, line, and sinker. I was all in. God, in my opinion at the time, was a "cosmic killjoy" ruining my life, my dreams, and punishing me with not one, but TWO boys with special needs.
In reality, He was loving me, blessing me. To make me feel even worse, He continued to bless me, to love me, even when I was a jerk to Him, and I did not get what He was doing. I didn't even try to get Him and what He was doing. I had pronounced judgment upon Him. He was guilty of ruining my life and since He wasn't going to talk to me and answer my questions, well then, I wasn't going to talk to Him! So there! I win. Or so I thought.
My problem, if I look back to analyze the why, was I had invested very little of the previous eight years in getting to know God, and no one was encouraging me to do so. They told me to read the Bible and how important it was to pray and go to church, but those things are not, in and of themselves, a "relationship" with God. They are tools He uses to help us get to know Him better, to learn about Him and who He is, but they are not the relationship He wants with us.
I, on the other hand, did not have this perspective that God wanted, God desired, a relationship with ME! This perspective, that God wants a relationship with you, is critical if you want to get to know Him, love Him, serve Him, cooperate with Him, and partner with Him in what He’s doing in His Kingdom.
Perspective #32: This perspective that God wants a relationship with you is critical if you want to get to know Him, love Him, serve Him, cooperate with Him, and partner with Him in what He’s doing in His Kingdom.
It is also important if you desire to spend eternity with Him and enjoy Him and His Kingdom forever!
Want more? Join me next week for Part 2 of this message…