What Does God Want?

What does God want? God wants people to know him and to do what is delightful:

Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD. —Jeremiah 9:23-24, NASB

Jesus explained that there are two principles or commandments that, if followed, will make us righteous in God’s eyes:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

And He [Jesus] said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” —Matthew 22:36-40, NASB

If we love God with all of our being, and love others as we love ourselves, then we have fulfilled all of God’s law. This law, however, is easier to say than to do. If you think that what God wants is important, then you will try to understand and follow God’s will. In my attempt to understand and practice God’s law, I have come up with some ideas to explain it. Your understanding of God’s law, however, may be different, since you have had different experiences and have a different viewpoint.

In my own words, to love God with all of my being means to do what God wants, even if it does not look easy. I try to trust God to lead me to do what is right, since I cannot see all of the future consequences of my actions. I try to always act with a motivation of love, and not with a motivation of fear or guilt. I believe that “all things work together for good,” and that God knows, from his broad perspective, how best to achieve this good. I try to obey God’s word above all other demands from people or my environment. However, if God leads me to submit to a human, I will do that, as long as it does not lead to my own debasement or to the injury of others.

In my own words, to love others as I love myself means to value others’ lives as much as I value my own. It means to want the best for everyone, even if I don’t know what is best for each particular person. It means to forgive others as I want to be forgiven. It does not mean that I have to treat each person in the same way, since each relationship is unique. It does not mean that I have to like what a person does, or that I have to enjoy his personality. It means that I should not judge a person as being “good” or “bad.” If I judge someone as being “good,” I will be disappointed when I find things that I don’t like about him. If I judge someone as being “bad,” I will not see or try to bring out the best in him. It means that I should not condemn others for what I view as their faults.

If we want to do God’s will, because we believe that he knows what is best, then we should try to understand and perform his commandments. Faith in God’s wisdom and the ability to follow God’s wisdom do not usually happen overnight. Faith and love are two things that become stronger with use. If we never exercise our faith and love, we should not be surprised to find that we do not have them.