Sometimes we have the desire and passion to do things and sometimes we just don’t. There are still more times when we want to want the desire to do things but we don’t want to want to. It’s like the difference between “get to” (as if it’s a privilege) and “got to” (as if you have to do it or it’s a responsibility). For example, I remember when my kids were babies there were times it was my turn to “watch them.” I would respond to friends who wanted to hang out, “Sorry, I have to watch my kids,” as if it were punishment or a job. It was as if I was somehow having to babysit my own children. Of course I have to watch them, they’re my kids! I wanted to want to watch them, but I honestly didn’t. I just didn’t want to (I confess my honesty with the risk of being a bad dad)!
And then there’s doing the right thing, whether pursuing the correct relationships, prioritizing correctly or not doing what we’re not supposed to. There’s times I don’t want to spend time reading Scripture or praying or feeling a certain way about someone or getting off the internet or . . . you know what I mean. Those things we don’t want to do but we can’t help but do them (Romans 7:18). It can be anything like drinking, smoking, bad language, mean thoughts, vengeful attitude or lack of endurance when necessary. I don’t want to want to do them. But I do them.
And then there’s those things we really want to do, but we don’t have the urge, desire or passion to do them. This can be things like spending time with family, reading instead of watching television, praying for enemies, giving time, money or other resources to those in need or having a positive attitude in life. We not only think we “should” do them, but we really do want to want to do them. There’s those times went we want to do them and follow through with it, but other times where our will just doesn’t follow through with those tough decisions and we’re lift with simply wanting to want to do them – and only God can turn our want to want to simply want.
I remember myself in my lowest of lows praying, “God, I want to want to think the way I know I need to, but I just can’t seem to. I need help even wanting to do what You want me to. I want to want what You want, but I have to be honest that I don’t. Help me to want to want with your desires.” I’m not sure whether it was because of something that was in my heart, in my mind, a condition, a situation I’ve become addicted to or over focusing on some sort of idol, or whatever! Idols, by the way, are everywhere: materialism, life only about me, a television show, sports or a particular team, reading, relationships, vehicles, homes, money, kids or more. I certainly have my fair share of idol temptations. I guess they are probably the biggest hindrance in our desire. Whether it’s an incredible experience at church, simple time in the Word or fellowship with believers or God Himself, it’s typically idols that get in the way. And they diminish our healthy wants and desires to a blockade.
My biggest struggle has been wanting to want to see hope. I believe in hope – that of life in and through Jesus, both now and forever – but some times I don’t succeed maintaining that belief. Certainly we all struggle with that, but I want to want that nonstop.
Psalm 20 is really interesting because it hits on both of these. It’s this royal Psalm which scholars believe is one in which a community is praying for their king. In verse four it says: “May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!” I always thought that was peculiar because so often our desires aren’t what are God’s desire. Especially with kings. I mean, shouldn’t our prayer be more like, “May he grant you His desires and in doing so fulfill His plans”? But it doesn’t. I think God wants to grant us our desires much like I do as a dad with my kids, but He knows what’s best and withholding is healthy for growth and maturity. This is often a verse I tag on birthday cards – with the mindset that they ought to long for what is God’s heart.
A few verses later in Psalm 20, it hits on this ideal of idolization three verses later: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” It’s so true that we have idols – I’ve written about that above. But trusting in God as greater than those idols is just right! Jennifer Knapp had a great song about this years ago.
Wanting to want versus giving in to idols. Oh how I long to sing that I don’t trust in chariots or horses, but in the Name of God and He alone. I do as I type and want to forever. I sure hope so. Part of that hope is in the eternal life that’s assured, but I want to live in it here and now for this earth no matter what might come – from persecution to joy, from hard times to great ones. That is true hope.