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Eternity 58 - What Do You Want From Jesus?
Matthew 20:32-33 GNB Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked them. (33) "Sir," they answered, "we want you to give us our sight!"
Matthew 8:2-3 LITV And behold, coming up, a leper worshiped Him, saying, Lord, If You will, You are able to cleanse me. (3) And stretching out His hand, Jesus touched him, saying, I will! Be cleansed! And instantly his leprosy was cleansed.
Exodus 2:24 LITV And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
In the gospels Jesus often asks people "what do you want" - and answers the request that follows. Clearly, Jesus mainly acts in response to requests. There were probably many lepers in Israel but it was those that requested Jesus that were cleansed, there were probably many blind in Israel - but it was those that cried out loudly to Jesus that gained their sight.
Over and over again the Bible tells us to "make our requests known to God." (Philippians 4:6,7). The request is what moves God, and the intense requests of bereaved parents and groaning slaves seems to move God most. The deep cry from the human spirit is the prayer request that Heaven hears.
Yet God seems to value a certain kind of request, a request that is definite, clear, focussed and believing.
Much of our praying is "light", hopeful, casual, or dutiful. We don't "really care" whether it is answered or not. But Jesus wants us to "really care". He wants prayer in the Spirit and from the heart. It is the "fervent prayer" of the righteous man that availeth much (James 5:16-18).
In fact God sometimes tests the spirit of a person to see if it is sharp and quick and strong. A few times in the gospels Jesus seems to place obstacles in a person's way and when they rise to the occasion with a "help my unbelief" or a loud cry from the crowd or a clever reply He grants their request. If the desire is like a burning torch within the spirit of the supplicant - then they seem to prevail in heavenly things.
This relates to the importance of simplicity, fasting and solitude and the disciplines that make our life clear and focussed. These disciplines help us to sharpen our spirit to a point. Instead of being weakened and distracted, pulled in many directions we focus ourselves on one thing - with great intensity.
Soren Kierkegaard the Danish philosopher was fond of saying "purity of heart is to will one thing". God wants us to "will one thing" - to be spiritually strong, clear-minded, focused, and purposeful in our dealings with Him. The unfocused, the wishy-washy, the insipid and unbelieving "receive nothing from the Lord" (James 1:5-8).
All the great saints of God were not afraid to say "This is what I want Lord!" and to say so strongly and emphatically with a single, clear spiritual impulse. This is not rudeness or presumptuousness but definiteness and faith, the ability to truly stake oneself upon the Lord.
It is also good policy - for the King likes those who come before Him with their minds clearly made up.
The New Testament constantly encourages a stridency in prayer that seems almost out of place in dealing with Heaven. The words bold, importunate, persistent, fervent, and insistent are GOOD words when they refer to prayer.
We are told to make our request known, to pray boldly, to pray always, to ask for anything in Jesus' name, to strive in prayer.
God is not cruel in this insistence on single-mindedness. Rather He is refining us, taking us out of spiritual infancy and making us strong, adult Christians who have their minds made up.
God wants to deliver us from wanting everything to wanting just one thing.
He wants us to put aside our many idols, innumerable cravings and myriad fantasies and to decide what we want from Him. What we want our lives to be like.
This is a hard choice because it means that many options must go. God wants us to live boldly - so He asks to pray boldly, He wants us to live with clarity and purpose - so He insists we pray with clarity and purpose. Now - what do you want from Jesus?