It’s the plot of every Disney classic. A broken beast. A wide-eyed mermaid. Or a puppet longing to be a boy. They all begin with a need, a deep, unfulfilled need. Those needs, though fiction on the screen, touch a deeper need within many viewers. We are all born into the world broken, wide-eyed, and longing for identity. Then God meets us in our need, and in His redemption, we find solace.
But what happens after the scene of salvation? Many linger in a rerun of presenting more needs to God. Their relationship with Him becomes one of personal fulfillment. But what if there is another pathway on which our relationship can progress? Should we continue in the perpetual presenting of our needs to God and reduce our relationship to be one of His response to our ever-growing Christmas list? In the counseling world, this arrangement is known as codependence. It is a mark of immaturity at best and intentional selfishness at worst. The evidence of a codependent relationship with God is a behavior of entitlement. Codependent faith is exercised as a means to an end; some never crawl out of this black hole. Even some worship songs reflect this codependent abyss. It seems we sing more about what God can do for us than who He is. Eventually, personal ambitions are cloaked as God’s desires, and we are urged not to deny ourselves the better things in life. “Surely,” the codependent soul says, “God wants the best for me. “This is why Jesus came. He came to give me a great life.” While this reasoning has a semblance of truth, it misses the point of God’s goodness. God defines goodness by His own identity. (Luke 18:19) God’s goodness is ultimately revealed in how He changes us into His character. His goodness should not be exploited for the sheer attainment of material or personal goals.
What if there’s a place of health in our relationship when our primary concern is to ask, “God, what do you desire?” I’m not suggesting that we inquire with the hopes of placing material sacrifices before God. I’m not writing about giving God a confession of sins. I’m urging you to consider the next step after we’ve given Him all our trash and trophies. Yes, the trash has to go. Yes, the trophies must be laid down, but what happens next? What if there is a side of God’s Divine nature that longs for you to fulfill His wishlist? His unselfish nature will not impose demands on us for His own benefit; rather, He waits for lovers who can mature past the point of self-focus to consider what brings Him pleasure.
In 2 Samuel 7, we see a moving moment in which King David gazed into the heart of God. David saw a desire and set out to fulfill it. Stirred to give to God, David called for the prophet Nathan. He said to him, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains” (2 Samuel 7:2). David was pointing out that he lived in a permanent, luxurious home, but God’s literal presence resided in a temporary tent. He wanted to give God a permanent place with His people. Since the beginning of God’s covenant with the nation, His desire was to live them. God longed for community, but much stood in the way—namely, our sinful nature and inability to understand God.
David thought back through the years of God traveling with his people. Realizing God had no long-term fulfillment of His cohabiting desire, David set his heart on making this wish come true. What was God’s response? He loved David’s idea! He responded in eternal fashion and said, “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle.” God affirmed the gift David presented. Then He unveiled to David how his son would build a temple. His son would also be the continuation of a Jewish lineage. Through Solomon’s generations, God would make a body through which He would fully be able to engage with men. In reading God’s response to David, my eyes filled with tears. God opened His heart and gave David access to an affection few had seen before. What a place of honor it must have been to be so close to the Father.
As I write this in the morning hours of this first day of 2020, may I suggest a question for you to consider? What does God desire? What wish does He have that’s independent of your benefits? Have you had a conversation of this nature with Him? In 2020 pursuing these questions could shape your year into one of eternal significance.