Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Want It!

I want it. I can taste the wanting. I can envision the having. The having siphons freedom, self-control, dignity, and achievement from my thoughts to reality. It feels like fresh spring air blowing around my face, across my arms, around and through--but never binding.

It is not a bad thing, this thing I want. In fact, it is a good thing. It is a thing that I sincerely believe God wants for me. The end result is pleasing to Him--could be pleasing to Him. But I have not attained it. Cannot attain it. I have talked to God about my desire and asked for His help. I continue to fail.

Then, in reading through Proverbs, I came across these verses:
"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves one who pursues righteousness. " (Proverbs 15:8-9).

In the Old Testament, bringing sacrifices was a good thing. By bringing a sacrifice to the temple, an individual acknowledged his sin and the need for God's atonement. Offering a sacrifice was good. It was also expensive...and public.

Prayer, too, was a good thing. Prayer continues to be an act of dependence on God, but is perhaps "inferior" to sacrifices as it can be done privately, without public confession, and costs very little.

The wicked may act biblically. The upright do the same, but often privately. God's pleasure, then, is not dependent on the action but on the heart attitude. The righteous acts of the wicked are detestable; the righteous acts of the upright are delightful. In God's system, one's spiritual condition is more important than one's spiritual activity. It is the pursuit of righteousness that God blesses, not the pursuit of appearance or participation.

What does this have to do with my want? My want falls far short of seeking God Himself. To seek a specific outcome is to miss the Author. It would be like sharing a meal in a palace and so wanting to have good manners that I fail to respond to the king except in matters of etiquette. What a travesty! I would have missed the purpose, the blessing, and the reward of a priceless time. This week, then, I have been reflecting on what I really want. Am I pursuing righteousness? Am I pursing God Himself? Or something less?