I woke up the other day remembering questions that kept coming up in the waning days of Hope Christian Fellowship. Back then I started asking about the difficult circumstances of life: “What does God want in this?” and then, “What does the enemy want in this?”
So this particular morning:
Laura: So how do you answer those questions today?
Tony: Today the easier question is, “What does the enemy want?” I think the enemy wants us to turn from God.
Laura: Well what does God want?
Tony: God is an egomaniac. God wants our total worship…for our own good.
I started reading a new book that day, Making the Best of It, by John G. Stackhouse, Jr. In the acknowledgements (yes I often read the acknowledgements), I read this tribute to the author’s father:
“I mourn the loss of someone who was, as Irenaeus put it, truly ‘the glory of God…a man fully alive’”
It struck me that perhaps what God wants is people fully alive—and alive in their relationships to God, to other people and to all of creation.
For your prooftexting pleasure:
“I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:6
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:34-35
For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all. Romans 5:17-18
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10: 25-28
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
So what if you lose your job? What if you’re going to jail? What if your loved one goes to jail because he can’t find work? The enemy wants you to turn from God, to forget loving others, and to ignore the rest of the world. God wants you and your loved ones to be fully alive worshiping God, loving people, and serving the world.
I don’t know what it means that Adventists, Baptists, Church of Christ disciples, Disciples of Christ, Hindus, Methodists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Unitarian/Universalists, United Church of Christ Christians, Unity followers, and other believers have all been praying for us in our current struggles. But if you are willing to continue praying, I ask you to pray against the enemy and to pray for what God wants for God’s glory: All of us fully alive!