Thursday, June 08, 2006

What Does God Want?

I know someone who is getting married.

Previously, he had gotten married to his live-in girlfriend, and then divorced her. They weren't getting along. Even though they had lived together for many years, their marriage was rocky. There was jealousy, rivalry, and his then-wife was argumentative (according to his assessment).

During one of their separations, he met another woman who would become his girlfriend. When his divorced was finalized, he and his new girlfriend moved in together. They got along very well, and within a few months they decide to get married.

I objected. I thought it was a bad idea to enter into another relationship without working out the issues that caused him to seek out the relationship in the first place.

In response, he didn't like my objections, saying, "I thought you Christians liked marriage. Don't you guys always talk about marriage and how it is so moral compared to living together. You, of all people, should be all for this. Aren't I doing the right thing? Wouldn't your God approve?"

The answer to that question is not what he would expect.

Often, Christians get too involved in the issues of morality, not the causes. What I mean is that we often communicate to the world that God is more interested in our moral behavior than why we behave the way we do. God's solution for our wrong behavior is to fix the behavior, or do the right behaviors — then everything will be okay.

That cannot be further from the truth. God saw our problem as terminal, not cosmetic. We are dead to God. Nothing short of resurrection would suffice. Dead people cannot live, no matter what we tell them to do. Dead people cannot act alive, even if we prop them up. Dead people cannot do the things living people can do, no matter how hard we want them to try.

What God requires of us is not marriage or loving relationships. It is a life that glorifies Him. Therefore, the love we show, the freedom we experience, and the faith we demonstrate is not for our benefit alone. We don't exist to simply make the world a better place (according to how we define it), or to make a difference (really to feel self-important). We exist to glorify God in living with the gusto God has gifted each of us with. If we make the world a better place, it is the byproduct of living to please God. If we make a difference, it is the natural result of living out our purpose.

For example, a boy growing up may aspire to eat pizza everyday. If he chooses to indulge his desire for pizza, the irony is that he will eventually lose the enjoyment of pizza, and he will also lose the freedom of good health. But if he lives for God, he may have to deny himself pizza for a time, but his life becomes full and rich with all that God has to offer. And by denying himself pizza for this higher purpose, he will enjoy greater things. And maybe, one day, enjoy the pizza in a new way never imagined.

1 comment:

  1. But doesn't God just want us all to be happy?