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How we ask a question can have a great influence on the answers we get. This can be as subtle as the tone we use, or as overt as a change to the wording of our question.
For a long time I have lived life asking, “What does God want from me?” The answers I came up with revolved around the demands that His holiness made on me… measuring myself by His standard and coming up short every time. This is known as legalism; living as if everything depends upon my performance.
More recently, God has been showing me how to live life with a different question. He has been beckoning me to ask instead, “What does God want FOR me?”
Though there is only one letter difference between “from” and “for,”there is a world of difference between the two questions.
“From” makes the question refer to demands, requirements, measurement, and servitude.
“For”, instead, reshapes the question to be about gifts, freedom, compassion, grace, and love.
Keep in mind we are not asking “What can I GET from God?” This is a question based in selfishness and relying upon OUR desires. Instead, when we ask “What does God want FOR me?”, we are basing our question on God’s character. What good gifts has he given to those who follow Him? We can see examples in the Bible, in Church History, in our local Church community, and in our own lives. He gives gifts such as, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” (Gal 5:22-23).
This is not a list of demands. God didn’t say, “Thou shalt have patience… NOW!” He instead says, “If you will follow me, and allow me to shape not just the actions of your life, but who you are inside, I would love to bestow my patience upon you.”
Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow me.” In the days before Twitter and Facebook, to “Follow” someone required more than just a click or a screen tap, and then occasionally paying attention to what they said. To truly “Follow” a teacher required you get up and walk with them, going where they went, meeting who they met, eating what they ate. In other words, you entered into a truly immersed relationship… living with the teacher day by day.
That is what God still calls us to… a truly immersed relationship where we share our day with Him, being together through everything we do.
Which type of God do you want to follow? One who makes demands, or one who gives gifts?
Start a different relationship with God right now:
- Ask: “What does God want FOR me?”
- Check your answer by asking “Is this consistent with God’s character (check the with Bible and the Church for help)
God wants a better life for each of us. He wants to help us leave behind those actions and thoughts that separate us from Him and from each other. He wants for us to have an abundant life, full of goodness.