Thursday, February 27, 2020

But I Don't Want To!

Suggested Reading: Philippians 2:1-13

"But I don't want to!!"

I don’t think that there is any other single response that I hated hearing more from my children. When we were trying to get everyone ready for bed and I asked them to brush their teeth. "But I don't want to!" I would tell them that we were going to do something special Saturday afternoon but that I needed them to get their rooms clean. "But I don't want to!" I had washed, dried and folded laundry and I asked them to put away their clothes. "But I don't want to!"

Now, in all fairness, my kids didn't say it all that often. They are really good kids. But, every now and then, when they hadn't had enough sleep or they were in a bad mood, out came, "But I don't want to!" Like I tell my kids, "It drives daddy batty!"

If I'm honest, though, there are times when I think I treat my heavenly father the same way. The Spirit nudges me to go talk to a stranger. So I make an excuse and come up with a good reason to avoid it but what I am really saying is, "But I don't want to!" I am convicted that I need to cut back on my media consumption and spend more time doing kingdom work. I tell myself that I really don't spend that much time watching tv or on the internet and there's not much I could really do with the time I would give up anyway. But what I am really saying is, "But I don't want to!"

I know that God's directions have purpose both for God's glory and for my good. I want to obey God and live a life that pleases God but, sometimes, when God leads me to do or to change something, I just don’t want to. Fortunately for me and those of you like me, there is a verse that gives us hope. In Philippians 2, Paul has given us the example of Christ, who placed all of his own rights and desires aside in order to obey God's purposes, and then he talks about how we are supposed to live out the salvation that Christ provided for us. Then he adds this little piece of hope in 2:13 "For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out his good purpose" (HCSB).

God is enabling us to desire his good purpose! Does that mean that we automatically desire what God wants? No. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation. But it does mean that God is working in us, giving us the ability to desire what God wants. We can want what God wants. We can desire what God nudges us to change. But the key is actually doing it. When we follow God's leading and do what we have been called to do, we will be surprised to discover what how much we actually want to do it.

Right now, we may be screaming inside, "But I don't want to!" But God is working in us so that we can desire the very things same things God does. Will we allow God to change us? Or will we stubbornly avoid those things that we don't want to do?

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