Okay, so there we were, driving back from my in-laws on Sunday afternoon. Low and behold the Bingo building was packed full out in the middle of the country where the Bible Belt population thrives. It made me wonder a couple of things, first, if gambling was preached against out here (Christians can differ on what they think about this topic, it is a non-essential) and if these people were skipping church to go gambling or had the churches simply stopped competing with the Bingo parlor?
Then I had a thought that went something like this, “at least they are doing something they desire to do rather than going to a church that they don’t want to be in”. I thought that was a solid and truthful statement for about fifteen seconds. Then I started remembering some things from the Old Testament.
First, Moses and Aaron hung out in the desert for 40 years with a very stiff-necked people. These folks did things all the time that they desired to do and it would often end up hurting them in the long-run, or short-run for that matter. There was one time when Moses went on top of the mountain to talk to God and while he was gone Aaron was “persuaded” by the people to make them a god to worship. So Aaron had them throw in a bunch of their ear rings and went and made them a golden calf. So the people ended up worshiping this golden calf while Moses was chatting it up with the Lord. When he got back the people were going crazy with their festival and Aaron basically pleaded innocent saying that the people were intent on evil, what else was he to do? Moses ended up calling those who were committed to the Lord to him and instructed them to kill those who were out of control about this calf. In the book of Exodus it says that about 3,000 men were killed that day. This is all out of Exodus 32. The people wanted one thing for themselves but God had something else in mind (or for the unbelieving, Moses had something else in mind for the people). God wanted them to experience life as He intended for it to be lived but they kept rejecting Him.
This scene was repeated in various forms throughout the history of Israel. The people were constantly doing what they desired, but were then called to do things that they didn’t desire (like obey the laws and commands that were placed on them by their leaders). It would appear that God doesn’t care what you want to do, you are supposed to do things that you don’t want to do because it is better for you, whether you realize it or not. So with the Bingo people, maybe they should have been at church instead of stamping it up at the bingo parlor, I don’t know but I can make a pretty good inference (this is a two way street here, I am not pointing my finger in judgment at the bingo folks. I am simply using them as an example to help me relay the point to this post).
Paul talks about a fleshly and spiritual war within Christians that is constantly battling. “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. ” Daddy Moose here, stay with me, the next verse is the point to the passage. “So I discover this principle: when I want to do good, evil is with me. For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body!” Romans 7:15-23
This is long enough already. My point is that we should try to do the things that we don’t want to do. It might just end up being good for us and for others. All of this focus on not denying our own desires and lusts is not healthy living nor is it fulfilling to live that way. You are always left wanting me. Try it. Obey. See what happens and I bet you will be pleasantly surprised. Also, read the rest of that passage in Romans to see what brother Paul says is the way out of this bondage to our desires that don’t help us out.