If God wants what is best for me, then why do I have a hard time wanting it too? Our minds have definitely been damaged by the fall. Even though I know better than to want what I want, I can’t stop myself. I find it difficult to transform my mind from wanting what I want into wanting what God wants.
Wanting God isn’t easy. It’s only the seasoned saints who truly breaks through to fully wanting God more than their selfish desires. They don’t want God on their own. They need help just like I do. To want God is to want His will. In the Christmas story the Virgin Mary seemed so prepared to do God’s will, more than Zachariah. Eventually they both wanted God’s best; it just took a few months of speechlessness for Zachariah to come around. This means there is hope for me.
The main reason that it is so hard to want what God wants is because God’s wants are so much higher than my wants. I want the easy way. I want the instant way. God has better plans than I do. St. Bernard of Clairvaux explains it this way, “Life is in his will.” That would be the way a saint would see the will of God. How did he come to see this? Life experiences most likely taught him. I’m sure he had a lot of opportunities to see that not doing God’s will brought the opposite of life a time or two. Eventually he got it. He fully submitted himself to God’s will and found in doing so that real life was not denied him in any way.
That’s the kind of life I want to live. I want to want God. Paul described how God saw David in Acts 13:22:
“God testified concerning him: I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”
I wish those words could be said of me one hundred percent of the time. I think God could say that for the majority of the time, but God and I do get in squabbles when I resist doing the seemingly impossible action or thought He asks of me.
What if I did everything God wanted? I would be really living, according to St. Bernard. God wants a lot better for me than I want for myself. For instance, He wants me to be more thoughtful toward others than I am to myself. Where’s the fun in that? I like to be self-focused; it is fun for a season, but there is no life there. It eventually wears me out. However, when I want what God wants and discover the joy of self-sacrifice, I realize that I am really living.
I can share with you from my own experience that when I finally give up my wants for God’s, then and only then do I find the utter joy of wanting what God wants. There is truly a battle of the wills until I turn mine over to do God’s will that is better even though it is uncomfortable.
What keeps me from wanting what God wants? It’s my fallen mind that doesn’t remember how empty my own wants leave me.