Secular psychotherapist, Irvin Yalom tells about leading a seminar attended by white-collar, have-it-all-together types. As he begins, he asks them to stand face-to-face with one other person and ask each other, “What do you want? What do you really want.” He explains that within minutes, the room is rocked by emotion. People cry out, “I want a relationship with my Dad that I never had.” “I want my marriage back.” “I want…”
Yalom is certainly no biblical counselor and his theories lack theological foundation. He has, at least, stumbled upon one aspect of God’s design for our soul—affections, longings, desires, and wants.
Recently I was reflecting on our deepest desires as portrayed by Christ in the Lord’s Prayer. Ponder with me what we were most deeply designed to desire.
Wanting to Glorify God
“Hallowed be Thy name.” As originally created by God and as redeemed and regenerated by Christ, our utmost longing is to live lives that glorify God—that exalt the most exalted Being in the universe. We want to please our Heavenly Father by proclaiming His glory through our lives.
Wanting the Renewal of All Things
“Thy kingdom come.” What do you want? We want God’s rule in our souls and God’s governance in our world. God designed us to surrender all to our heavenly Father and to enjoy His reign. God designed us to participate in His rule—we want to be empowered to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives in God’s world.
Wanting What God Wants
“Thy will be done.” In the garden, Jesus prayed the deepest desire of every redeemed heart: “Not my will, but Thine be done.” At a surface, fleshly level, we all want what we want and we want it now! But in the core of the new creation we are in Christ, we want nothing more than whatever God wants. God created us so that our wants echo His eternal will.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Our world’s script insists that we be independent, self-sufficient. But the deepest cry of our soul is for God-dependence. We want to entrust ourselves to Christ.
Wanting Reconciled Relationships
“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Those folks in Yalom’s seminars longed for relationships made whole…with parents, with spouses. Unknowingly, they were tapping into God’s design for us to long for shalom: peace with God, with one another, and even within our own souls. They, like every image bearer, long to enjoy God through Christ and to enjoy one another because of Christ.
Wanting to Be Like Christ
“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We long to emulate our heavenly Father, just like any child longs to imitate their parent. At the fleshly level, we may revel in the pleasures of sin for a season, but in the core of our new heart, we long to revel to live victorious lives that reflect the victory of Christ over sin. We long to increasingly reflect the image of God in Christ.
What Do You Want?
C. S. Lewis famously noted that our desires are too weak.
“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Look in the mirror of eternity and ask yourself, “What do I want? What do I really want.”
If our deepest spiritual affections are less than what Jesus prayed in the Lord’s Prayer, then our wants are too weak.
“Holy Spirit, enliven my affections so that my wants are what God designed me for. May I most deeply want:
- To Glorify God: To Exalt God
- The Renewal of All Things: To Live Empowered by God
- What God Wants: To Echo God
- God-Dependence: To Entrust Myself to God
- Reconciled Relationships: To Enjoy God and One Another
- To Be Like Christ: To Emulate God.”
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What do you want? What do you really want?
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