Summary: These three areas are so basic to our lives and determine our destiny. God's word shows us how important these are on just about every page of scripture.
Let's say the 23rd Psalm together. (The Lord is my Shepherd...)
I heard about a preacher who asked if any of the children could come up and say the 23rd Psalm. A little five year old bounced out of the pew and came to the podium and said: "The Lord is my Shepherd and that's all I want!"
As I was reading about godly leadership in the home I came across an interesting statement that has fueled this message today. It said there are three things kids today need that parents must teach them:
What to want.
How to wait.
How to work.
When we think of our wants there are two categories that come to mind: First, moral wants - some wants are right and some are wrong. And second, Christian maturity wants - some good wants are more important than others in which case we need wisdom and priority.
Wanting, waiting and working… these three are interrelated and are core elements of life. They can either direct us toward God’s blessings or His curses. Much of the scripture is devoted to training us in instruction about what we want, how to wait, and how to work for God’s glory and our good.
What is temptation? Is it not an appeal to your desire? Is it not first of all a way of turning your wants away from what is right and good? Sometimes temptation is a shortcut to getting something good that you want before God says it is time. That concerns waiting correctly. Sometimes temptation involves doing something wrong in an attempt to get something right, or giving up what is best for what is less. That concerns how to work.
When it comes to parenting our children to be faithful to the Lord, we need to be sure to help them learn the lessons of wanting, waiting, and working God’s way.
Let’s look at some biblical illustrations and then make some practical applications for us.
Wanting... The tenth commandment, look in Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5 for the list of the 10 commandments. Listen to God's word in the Law here. By the way, these ten commandments are the foundation for the rest of the commandments of God. The basis of the ten are the two: Love the Lord your God with all... and love your neighbor as yourself.
God tells us to watch out for what we want. We must learn to control our wants. Jesus reminds us of this many times, perhaps especially when he said, "Whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Coveting is about wanting. Wanting what others have. Wanting what is wrong for you to have. Remember King Ahab and the event with Naboth's vineyard? 1 Kings 21 tells the story. Ahab wanted Naboth's vineyard and Naboth would not sell it to him because it was Naboth's inheritance. Ahab went home whining and his wife Jezebel took matters into her own hands and had Naboth killed so Ahab could get what he wanted.
Remember Madam Blueberry of the Veggie Tales? She's so blue, blue, blue, blue, she's so blue she don't know what to do. All her neighbors have better things than her. Then Stuff Mart comes to town and say, "Happiness waits at the Stuff Mart, all you need is lots more stuff!" Madam Blueberry discovers that stuff won't give you a happy heart. The way to have a happy heart is to be thankful! (If you are borrowing this sermon, I suggest you see the video and expand on this illustration a bit by telling more of the story).
Misguided wants have caused us a lot of trouble.
What do you think Eve wanted when she took that forbidden fruit in the garden? You know the story. I use it all the time because it is so basic to understanding our human condition. Genesis 3 tells about the serpent that talked to Eve in the garden. He asked a question, “Has God said that you cannot eat from any tree in the garden?” He’s baiting her. Up until now Eve has been pure and perfect. Adam and Eve were created good, very good, like God himself. She knows God’s word about the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She and Adam have been obedient to the word of God. Their wantings and waitings and workings have all been good thus far. In fact, good is all they know. God commanded them not to eat of this one tree, the tree of knowledge of GOOD AND EVIL. They know good, but they do not yet know evil. God told them that when they ate of it they would surely die. That command alone should settle whether Adam and Eve ever WANTED to eat from that tree. Did they want to do what God said? Yes. Did they trust Him? Yes. Did they want to die? No. They had no reason to want anything but what God wanted… until now. Satan uses our other wants to lead us into what he wants. He wants to destroy us.