Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
In starting this conversation, we must first see where God is coming from. If we want to know what God wants from us, it is important to understand why first. God has a good plan for us, thoughts of peace and not evil, and a future and a hope! So as we look into the things God wants from us, we must understand He wants these things because He ultimately wants us to have a future and a hope! We spend a great amount of time in prayer and that is very good, but most of the time we are making petitions for ourselves. We have to take the time to examine the things God wants from us. The beautiful thing is we know that they will not be burdensome. 1 John 5:3 offers the following… (3) For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome… So what does God want from us? Acceptance First and foremost, God wants you to accept the free gift of salvation that was paid for in the blood of Jesus, our perfect propitiation for our sins. Romans 10:9–10 states… (9) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation… Salvation has to be the first step, the rest of this devotional will not make sense if we do not start from here. If you have not accepted this amazing gift, contact me and I would love to walk you through it. True Belief 1 Thessalonians 2:13 (13) For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe… We must accept the Word as absolute truth, accepting the Word as absolute truth leads us to true belief. How can we tell if we truly believe? It should be effectively working in us, there should be a continual change… We should be transformed by God’s Word. Faithfulness 1 Corinthians 4:2 (2) Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful… If we are given salvation and we have true belief, that should lead to faithfulness! How do we show that faithfulness to God? Through studying His Word, Obeying His commandments, honoring Him, and praising Him. Closeness James 4:8 (8) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded… He desires for us to draw near to Him, to know Him, to truly experience Him! He is our heavenly Father, He knows what is best for us. When we draw near to Him, we are often less likely to fall into sin. The closer we are to Him, the straighter our path… that is almost guaranteed! But allow separation and how easily does the enemy trap us, trip us up, and make us stumble? He desires closeness not to control us, but to protect us from the evil one. Obedience John 14:23 (23) Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him… Do you love Jesus? Do you truly love Him? We should be keeping His commandments. We should be following His commandments in obedience. How do we demonstrate obedience to His commandments? James 1:22 reminds us… (22) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves… To show obedience in Christ we must be doers of the Word, not hearers only. We must talk the talk, but we must also back that up by walking the walk! Christ-like Character 1 John 2:6 (6) He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked… As we just mentioned, we can only build Christ-like character by walking the walk. We must see His example and then live by it. None of us are perfect, but the goal of the Christian life should be striving towards being as close a copy of Jesus as possible. Walk just as He walked! That is the goal! Thankfulness 1 Chronicles 16:34 (34) Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever… Why should we be thankful? Because His mercy endures forever! We literally cannot sin more than God forgives. As we mature in Christ, we should sin less, but how thankful should we be for that statement… His mercy endures forever. That is a promise to be forever thankful for! Selflessness Selflessness starts and ends with love. That is chief among the commandments the Lord has for us. I love how 1st Corinthians 13:4-7 describes the love we should be pouring into the world through selflessness… 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (4) Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; (5) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; (6) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; (7) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Really take time to examine your life as it is right now… Are you longsuffering? Are you kind? Are you the opposite? Are you envious? Are you puffed up? Do you act rudely? Do you seek your own? Do you provoke? Do you think evil? Or do you rejoice in truth? Do you bear all things? Do you believe all things? Do you hope all things? Stop Worrying Philippians 4:6–7 (6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus… If we know that the Lord’s plan for us is perfect, and we are abiding in His commandments, with Christ-like character, while remaining close to God, there is no reason to worry, plain and simple! Closing Thoughts: Let’s stop thinking and praying about the things we want from God and instead turn our attention to the things God wants from us. After all, His plan is so much better than ours! 1 Timothy 4:10 (NKJV) 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.