Imagine players on a sports team meeting with the coach at the beginning of a practice early in the season. If the coached asked the players what they wanted to do today, how would they respond? I know when I was in high school and ran track and cross-country, if the coach had asked us what we wanted to do, we probably would have said something like, “Go get pizza and ice-cream,” or “go home early to watch a T.V. show,” or, “goof off and flirt with the girls.” But the coach never asked us what we wanted to do at the beginning of practice, he always gave us an outline of the workout that we would be doing. We all moaned and groaned and sometimes complained, “No coach, not that!” We didn’t want to be pushed to point of pain in our practice, we wanted to coast along, take it easy and have fun.
The coach had a vision of what we could become, we only had a vision of what we wanted right now.
A coach that asks his players, “Where do you want our team to be at the end of the season?” would probably find players responding with: “State champions!,” or “best in the district.” We all wanted to finish on top, we just didn’t want to do the work that would require today. We wanted to coast our way to the state championship. But what value would there be in a state championship if we only coasted to get there?
At times God may ask us what we want, but for the most part he asks to do as he asks. Keep his commandments, not ours. He sent his son to show the way, and he asks us to follow him. Following him is not an easy task, it requires everything that we have. We will be stretched to limits of our capacity, so God can help to increase our capacity.
Often in the world we here people ask questions like, “What do you want most in life?” While it is good to set and work towards goals, are we reaching for the goals that God wants us to reach? Are we willing to sacrifice the things of the world to reach the ‘state championship’ our Heavenly Father wants to us to have, that of eternal life with him?
Or do we focus on what we want today? There is an Adversary who poses a question, trying to get us to focus on our needs in selfishness and pride. He asks, “What do you want?” If he is successful, what we want becomes all important, and we loose sight of what our loving Heavenly Father wants for us. We give up the eternal victory at the end of the season for pleasure today. God want us to learn to sacrifice pleasure in the present, to master the flesh and yield to the Holy Spirit.
Imagine your body as a horse, and your spirit as the rider on the horse. If the rider does not have the reins, the horse can go where it wants, and the rider has no say in the end destination. When we do what we want, let our appetites and passions dictate where we go, we end up crashing headlong into a miserable existence. However, when we let the Spirit take the reins, and subdue our carnal wills to the greater plans of our loving Father, then the Spirit will take us on a higher path. It is a challenging path, and at times the horse may try to buck the rider and run the other direction. But when we can discipline ourselves to yield to the Spirit, to follow the instructions of the coach, we end up with a joyful victory!
So don’t ask what you want out of life, but what kind of a life does God want for you? I promise that what he wants for you is better than what you want for you. Trust him.