What Does God Want From Me?
I was raised by my maternal great-grandparents. My great grandfather was an austere man. He was strict, and he governed our home much like a platoon leader from World War II. After all, he was a WWII vet, and spent much of his life operating under a very specific set of rules. Needless to say, my childhood was framed by rules. This was, at times, difficult to deal with, but I never had to ask the question, “What does granddad expect of me?” It was very clear, “Do as I say!” “Don’t be disobedient!” “Do not be disrespectful!” and “Don’t ever lie to me!” Failure to follow the rules was met with swift punishment, which ranged from being whipped (spanking was not a word in our home) to doing tedious yard work like digging small trenches, mowing grass with scissors, or picking up and counting pine needles one at a time.
Fast-forward a few decades, my grandfather has passed, but before leaving this earth, he set the tone for how I would perceive authority figures in my life. Consequently, once I became a Christian, I began looking for a set of rules to live by. The Ten Commandments, yeah, I can do that. I don’t steal or kill; I don’t commit adultery or covet my neighbor’s wife. I definitely will not put any other gods before God, so I think I am ok. But what does God expect of me beyond that? What does God want from me? Here are 3 things that I think God wants from all of His children. Before listing those things, let me share something with you. I spent so many years looking for rules to follow, that I missed the 3 things I am about to share with you, and subsequently did a very poor job of following the rules. Don’t be so rules focused that you miss out on what God really wants from you.
First, God wants me to have a real relationship with Him. A real relationship is one that is based on genuine desire for communication and quality time, and an authentic love and concern for one another. God created us to be in relationship with Him. If we look at life in the Garden of Eden, before the fall, God walked with Adam and talked with Adam and Eve. It was intimate, it was personal; it was a real relationship. That relationship was destroyed at the Fall, but God sent His own Son to restore our ability to have a real relationship with Him.
Second, God wants us to be obedient to what He has already said. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:14, ESV). Earlier I talked about just how rules focused I used to be, but this is different. Jesus isn’t talking about obedience for obedience sake. Jesus is talking about being in relationship, not just following rules. Rules are meant to be followed, regardless of how you feel about the person making the rules, but Jesus starts His statement with, “If you love me…” Jesus is not simply asking for our obedience, He is concerned with our attitude and the motivation behind our obedience. He is concerned about our relationship with Him, but He wants to be in relationship with us and He understands that the relationship cannot work if we live in disobedience. Sin is what separates us from God. Jesus wants to remove that barrier.
Third, God wants me to give 100% wherever He has me today. I spent years trying to figure out what God wanted me to do next. “Where are you leading me God, what are you preparing me for?” I would ask questions and pray prayers like that day after day. So much so, that I think I missed some things that God had right in front of my face. I was so focused on tomorrow that I was practically useless today. We are told several times in Scripture to not worry about or boast about tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1, Matthew 6:34, James 4:13-16). We should live each and every day to fulfill the will of God for that day, because we do not know what tomorrow may hold. If we spend all of our time focused on tomorrow, worrying about tomorrow, then we will miss all that He has for us today. Bloom where you are planted so to speak.
I used to think that determining what God expects of me was difficult. I was looking for rules, trying to determine His will, and always thinking ahead instead of focusing on today. As a result, I was always frustrated and ineffective. God has told us what He expects of us through His actions and in His word. He wants us to have a real relationship with Him. He gave His only Son to remove the barrier of separation between us so we could have that relationship. He wants us to be obedient to what He has already said because He understands that our disobedience is what keeps us separated from Him. Lastly, He wants us to give 100% for Him, each and every day, because He gave us His all on the Cross. If we do those three things, the rest becomes very clear. As we spend time with Him, He gives us the desires of our heart, which really means that He puts His desires in our heart (Psalm 37:4). I want to encourage you, focus on your relationship with Him and give Him your all because He gave all of Himself for you.