This is a passage that is filled with promise. It promises the things that people want most in life: long life, peace of mind, favor with God and man, direction for life, health and strength, and fulness of provisions.
In John 5:6, Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda if he wanted to made whole? In Luke 18:41, He asked Bartemaeus what he wanted Him to do for Him? Eight times, Jesus said to people that their faith had either healed them or made them whole.
It is proper conclusion that two major factors in receiving the deliverance that Jesus can give, is: 1) What do you really want? 2) What will you choose to believe? Think about your present situation, and you will realize that those two factors, what you have wanted, and the way you have believed, have been major contributors of your success or failure to this point.
We have a tendency to see God as being way up yonder, and us as being way down here, and a whole lot of space in between. We often talk in terms of “someday, we will be with God.” But the teaching of the Bible is that God is with us now, and we who are saved are not only with Him now, but we are in Him. We will never be in the presence of God, spiritually, more than we are right now, if we are saved. If He is in us, and we are in Him, we could not get in His presence any more than that without being in His physical presence.
If what I want, and what I believe, are two major factors in receiving from the Lord, I need to know what I should want, and I need to know what I should believe. In other words, I don’t want to want what God doesn’t want me to want. I want to learn to want what He wants for me. So, what are the boundaries of proper wanting? Am I out of line to want a promotion on my job, a better house and car, a boat, or a camper? Is the Lord concerned about those kinds of things in my life? If I can answer the question of what I am to want, I will have gone a long way in answering the question concerning what I am to believe.
First, we would do well to understand that God is far more interested in our eternal holiness, than He is in our temporal happiness. We exist for His glory, and not the other way around. However, God loves us, and He has called us His children. In the gospels, Jesus was called, “The Only Begotten Son Of God,” but after the resurrection, He was not called that anymore, but rather, “The Firstborn Among Many Brethren.” First John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God...” Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Being God’s children gives us some special family privileges. We are told in Matthew 7:11 that God certainly knows how to give good things to His children, and in Hebrews 11:6, we are told that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. The operative phrase in Hebrews 11:6 is to “seek Him.” God is not fooled when we only want to use Him for our temporal pleasure, but as Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart.” He certainly knows if you are seeking “first” the kingdom of God and His righteousness in your life, or if you are just trying to get your toys.
So, what about the promotion, the house, the car, the boat, and the camper we spoke about earlier? It depends on a couple of things: first, it depends on our motive. Will these things be used as a means to honor and glorify God, or will they serve to separate us from our closeness and dependancy upon Him? I’ve seen it work both ways in people. I was recently in the home of some friends, and the place was magnificent. After being shown through the house, we walked out on an upper balcony and looked at the beautiful view, and the man was nodding his head as his wife said, “The Lord has allowed us to have this, and we have committed it to Him, and we are looking for ways that we can use it for Him.” On the other hand, I’ve seen people who used the “things” of their life as an excuse to seemingly forget about God. I’ve seen people, who when they got something as insignificant as a boat or camper, act like those items were gods to whom they owed their devotion, instead of the Christ who died for them.
It is a very simple thing for the Lord to give you great riches and radiant health. He has it to give, and He loves you, but He also knows your heart. If the only way you will keep your eyes on Him is to be broke and sick, then being broke and sick is probably your greatest blessing. But, pure old common, horse sense will tell you that if you could live in health and plenty and really give God the glory, that would be the greater evangelistic tool. The Bible bears that out, also. In Matthew 9, among many other places in the Bible, we see it. Jesus healed a man, and verse 8 says, “And when the people saw it, they marveled and glorified God, which had given such power to men.” I know of no verses that say that people saw sick people, who stayed sick, and after seeing that, “they marveled and glorified God.” But, the truth is, deliverance for some people would do nothing more than feed the monster of sin that is in them. So, the big thing in defining what you should properly want, is not so much what you want, but why do you want it?
Then, there is the matter of what you choose to believe. God has empowered the human mind in ways that we will never fully realize until we get to heaven and come into the full understanding of all things. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” The heart, so often spoken of in the Bible, is not the organ in our chest that pumps our blood, but it is the very center of our mind, the most central part of who we are. A popular motivational speaker coined the phrase, years ago, “What the mind can believe, the body can achieve.” That phrase can be attributed to a man, but the truth behind it comes right out of the word of God. In Mark 9:23, Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” Now, you’ve got to decide whether you are going to believe that, or not. Most people don’t believe it. Most Christians don’t believe it. Most Christians go around looking like their gerbil just died, and that their greatest joy in life is their next crises that they hope will soon come. Some people enjoy their pain and suffering, because that’s the primary way they get attention. It’s their claim to being special. I’ll tell you, the devil gets more mileage out of a spiritual runt, who believes everything but the word of God, than he does a raging maniac who has never darkened the door of any church, and who has never made any claim to know God.
It has been said that the Bible is a promise book. It’s more than that, but it is filled with great and precious promises, and what God promises is as good as done. We have peace that we are going to heaven when we die, because we have believed the promise of God’s word concerning the matter. If we are only holding on to how we felt, or even presently feel, we are in great trouble, because feelings can quickly change. If we are only holding on to what some respected religious leader has told us, we can never be sure that he was completely correct, and we are stuck in a “hope so” mode. But, if we will lay hold on the promise of God, from the word of God, then we can enjoy the peace of God, which passes all understanding.
Let me close by telling you something that I have chosen to believe: I have chosen to believe whatever God tells me in His word. I have chosen to forever settle in my mind that the word of God is the final authority in all things. I have chosen to believe that the thief, who is the devil, has come to steal, kill, and destroy, but that Jesus has come that I might have life, and that I might have it more abundantly. I have chosen to believe that I have been removed from the curse of the law, because Jesus became a curse for me, and that the blessing of Abraham has come upon me, and I have received the promise by faith.
Let me tell you what I want: I want every thing God has for me.
What about you? What do you want? What will you believe?