Say by chance you came across a genie in a bottle and you got three wishes.
But these aren’t just some means of teaching you a moral lesson by giving you want you asked for with some kind of dramatic twist, no no no, these wishes are special.
These 3 wishes you get will give you exactly what you asked for with no drawbacks or hidden dangers.
And to make things even better, if at any point in a limited time that you aren’t satisfied with your wish, you can just get it ‘refunded’ so to say and get your wish back free of charge.
All this serves to say that whatever you wish for will give you all the happiness you would expect to have with no setbacks.
So, with all that in mind, what would you wish for?
You could go with the obvious wish of having millions and millions so that you’d never have to work another day in your life.
You could wish for perfect relationships with your family, friends, and spouses.
You could even wish to rule over the entire world and everyone in it (if you’re into that sorta thing).
With any wish you could think of, along with the guarantee that whatever you choose will make you happy (or your ‘money’ back), what would you ask for?
Take a mental picture of what your three wishes would be.
Keep them close.
You know why you should do those things?
Read the title of this article.
The things that you would wish for have a hold over your life.
What you want controls who you are because what you want controls the way you think.
And the way you think controls everything about you.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
We all may love to talk a big game about how godly and consecrated we are as Christians when compared to the rest of the world (myself included) but the fact of the matter is that if we desire more than anything the very same things that others desire (vast wealth, blissful relationships, absolute control over the world around us) we will time and time again come to difficult realization that we are only Christians in name and not in practice.
When Jesus asks us to deny ourselves in Matthew 16:24, he isn’t asking us to simply rebuke our sinful nature.
Rather he is asking us to put aside the most important things we can ever hope to obtain in our temporal lives, the desires of our hearts.
Jesus asks us not just to surrender who we are, he asks us to surrender what we want.
And that’s tough to do.
How can a person who knows so little of God come to desire him more than anything else?
How could anyone enter into a relationship so illuminating that it would cause a man to reject every richness and pleasure that the world has to offer?
How could a person practically live out the charge of Mark 12:30?
The answer begins with the willingness to put every other desire that is not of God aside and subdue it so that it becomes your primary motivator to live no longer.
It begins with surrendering your love of easy money and creating in its place a willingness to let the quality of your effort be your motivation to work (Proverbs 13:4).
It begins with surrendering your desire of blissful relationships and accepting that while even our closest friends and family will always fall short of our expectations and tear us down at times, God alone will always remain true to his promise to build us up even in the midst of our hardships (Proverbs 18:24).
It begins with surrendering or need for our lives to be perfect and without hardship or fault and embracing the improvement of our character and inner strength as a result of every trial that we overcome (James 1:2-4).
Our dreams are more than just dreams.
They are a reflection of what we really want in our lives and therefore a reflection of who we really are.
So dream about God.
Truly desire for God more than anything else.
And as I’m imagining you reading this, I realize strange it can be when someone asks you to give your whole heart to something you may only see as a pleasant lifestyle choice or a simple moral compass to having a happy life.
And I understand that if you maybe saw God that way, or even see him that way at this very moment, it can be hard to completely devote yourself to a God you think so little of.
After all, God is only as big as we allow ourselves to see him.
But understand that in spite of how you may see him or what your opinion of him may be, he gave his Son for you.
Yet he didn’t give his Son for you just because he wanted to save you from damnation and purgatory, he gave his Son for you because he just wants to be with you because he loves you like a father does his Son.
He wants to be apart of your life so that he can give you the immeasurable love that he had for you before you even knew who he was.
He wants to be apart of your life so that he can give you the immaculate love that you deserve to have.
He wants to be apart of your life so that he can care for you.
So put all your desires aside and just let him in.
And if some genie in a bottle ever did ask for your three wishes, you would be able to give him the perfect answer…
“No thanks, I already have everything I need”.