How To Get What You Really Want Part 4: Thinking It Through
On Sunday 21st January at our morning service, we finished our series 'How To Get What You Really Want' with the topic Thinking It Through. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to this, click here.
We are continuing our series called “How to Get What You Really Want”
So what do you really want? At one time or another all of us have got what or who we wanted and then realised that it was a big mistake and kept us from what we ultimately wanted. This is because what we naturally want is often in conflict with what we actually value. To get what we really want we have to discover what we truly value.
When I was at college I got really homesick in my second year.
It was so bad that during the summer break I felt physically sick at the thought of returning. I really wanted to qualify as a teacher, but my immediate desire to be back home almost scuppered my future. What you do now will decide what happens in the future. We have to think “ultimately” not “naturally”. Immediate experiences can kill our futures.
Those of us who are followers of Jesus know that God is our father. He is the perfect father that we have always wanted. As a good parent, He wants something for us not from us. He wants us to live lives marked with; love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the fruits of His Holy Spirit’s work in us. He wants us to experience life in all its fullness; to live in a different reality.
This world cannot give what you really want – it boils down to just upgrades and experiences, which are OK unless they distract you from what you really want. You have to figure that out for yourself – no-one can do it for you. When you figure out what you really value you are less prone to settle for what you merely want. The trouble is our values can come in to conflict and we need to think them through. For example you may value a nice home, a flash car, a secure job. Maybe a good marriage and wanting your children to love and respect you into their adulthood. You may value keeping physically fit, good mental health or friendship. If you are a Christian I hope that you value growing in your faith and following Jesus.
However each of us has limited time, energy and resources. So we have to balance all of these. We have to think through how they affect one another and the cost of each one on the others. We need to prioritise them. If we are believers in God and followers of Jesus then surely our Spiritual life needs to come first. We believe that God made us and that he loves us and wants the best for us it follows that in order to live “life in all its fullness” we need to follow Him. We know this because of what Jesus was prepared to do to get what he really wants for us: a restored relationship with God, our father. In The letter to the Romans Paul, an early church leader, writes to the Church in Rome and explains to them all about this.
Then in Chapter 12 he talks about our logical response to all of this. You can read this by clicking here.
Paul urges us to surrender ourselves – our bodies, our behaviours, our lives - to God, in response to all that Jesus has done for us. He says that this is our “Logical” act of worship. (“true and proper”)
We are not to be squeezed into the mould of the culture around us, but to be transformed. “Metamorpho”. Metamorphosed; like the process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. This comes as we change the way that we think. We need to think things through, to see things like time, money, family, possessions etc. through God’s perspective.
We need to see things differently and we need to look different. Too often we look and live like everyone else around us. Jesus was different. He saw people, money, and religion differently. He saw the whole of life differently because he saw things through God’s eyes. He demonstrated how to live in a different reality. So if we claim to follow him we should live differently too. This is very challenging, but also very exciting. When we see things as God sees them we are more inclined to do as God says; knowing that what he says, he says because he loves us and wants us to live rich and satisfying lives. We are encouraged to take off the old and put on the new. The Old is what I naturally want. What is New is what I ultimately want. The old is what I want now. The new is what I want later. The old is wanting what I want because everybody else wants it. The old is upgrade and experiences. The new is Character and what I ultimately want.
Then we will know and experience God’s will for us is – his good, pleasing and perfect.
To get what we really want, we need to live in a different reality. We shouldn’t settle for less.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. Did you have a chance to work through the eulogy exercise Simon talked about last week? If so, what did you discover?
2. Read through Romans 12 v 1-2 two or three times. What is it that first strikes you about this? Why do you think that is?
3. Does the idea that God’s will can be characterized as “good, pleasing, and perfect” strike you as odd? Why or why not?
4. Do you think your parents’ generation had an easier time focusing on what they valued verses what they merely wanted? How did this play out in your family of origin?
5. Has there ever been a time when you would have characterized God’s will as threatening, unfulfilling, and insensitive to the way you are wired? If so, what changed your mind about God?
6. Are there any changes that you would like to make that would make a difference for you? What initiative do you need to take?
The kingdom of this world won’t provide you with what you really want. It will distract you from what really matters. It will rob you of what you value. What you were created for is connected to who you were created by. The way to get what you really want is to surrender to your heavenly Father and renew your mind.
Try praying in your bed first thing in the morning. Imagine your bed as an altar. Present yourself to God as a living sacrifice, ask to be led by Him, guided by him and strengthened by him as you go into the day as a follower of Jesus. Ask him to empower you to do this by his Holy Spirit.