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Living Your Want To Life

“What’s in it for me?”  That is the question.  At the very foundation of everything we do and every decision we make, is this question.  What’s in it for me, to get out of bed and go to work?  What’s in it for me, to hang out with my friends?  What’s in it for me, to watch what I eat?  What’s in it for me, to go on that date?  What value do I find in whatever it is that I am considering?  Young or old, rich or poor, white, black or brown, male or female, republican, democrat or independent makes no difference.  Part of our shared human experience is the question, “What’s in it for me?”

This self-centered question has served us well over the course of history.  It has helped us survive as a species.  It has allowed us to preserve a culture while, at the same time, shielding our individuality.  It has given us the all-too-often needed nudge in one direction or the other when we have struggled to make up our minds.  Most importantly, acknowledging the benefits that we will personally receive from a decision, has allowed us to define our want to.  For we will all do what we want to; while we will only sometimes do what we have to.

This, the most basic and essential of questions, is where we all struggle, when it comes to faith in Jesus.  “What’s in it for me?”  For a very long time the quick answer has been heaven.  If you believe in Jesus when you die, you will go to heaven.  If you don’t believe in Jesus when you die, you will go to hell.  Very basic, cut and dry.  What’s in it for me to believe in Jesus is heaven as my eternal resting place.  This is very true and many a follower of Jesus has entered through this grand front door.  Churches all around the world have been built and sustained by people who took hold of eternity in heaven, as their want to.

Yet, here is a problem with the whole “What’s in it for me?” reality.  A want to, if left to its own devices, will eventually morph into a have to.  If left to its own devices a personal want to get to heaven someday, will slowly but surely morph into a have to believe in Jesus.  If left to its own devices a personal want to spend the rest of your life with someone, will slowly but surely morph into a have to be married.  If left to its own devices a personal want to make a lot of money, in order to live the good life, will slowly but surely morph into never having enough money.  And on and on it will go.  Where it will stop, everyone knows.  It will stop when you breath your last breathe.

So, understanding that “What’s in it for me?” is an essential question for each one of us, to determine our want to.  And, understanding that if left to its own devices, our want to will eventually morph into a have to.  What are we to do?  There-in-lies the rub.  Your answer to the question “What’s in it for me?” must constantly be transformed.  If you came to a faith in Jesus, because you want to go to heaven someday, you will need to allow your want to, to be transformed.  Because heaven someday will not be enough to sustain your faith today.  If you got married because you wanted to spend the rest of your life with someone, you will need to allow your want to, to be transformed.  Because a successful marriage is a whole lot more than spending time with someone.  If you made a lot of money because you wanted the good life, you will need to allow your want to, to be transformed.  Because the definition of the good life is a moving target.

Don’t ever stop asking the question “What’s in it for me?”  Simply be aware of your answer.  For your answer today needs to be transformed into a deeper, wiser and healthier answer tomorrow.  Without this kind of growth you are doomed to live a life of have to, as opposed to a life of want to.