Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.
You are as unfaithful as adulterous wives; don’t you realise that making the world your friend is making God your enemy? Anyone who chooses the world for his friend turns himself into God’s enemy. Surely you don’t think scripture is wrong when it says: the spirit which he sent to live in us wants us for himself alone? But he has been even more generous to us, as scripture says: God opposes the proud but he gives generously to the humble. Give in to God, then; resist the devil, and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you. Clean your hands, you sinners, and clear your minds, you waverers. Look at your wretched condition, and weep for it in misery; be miserable instead of laughing, gloomy instead of happy. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.
After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him.
They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.’ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
You have prayed for something to indulge your own desires
In Buddhism, it is said that desire is the cause of suffering. Hence to achieve Nirvana, the state of enlightenment, is to free yourself from all desires. It is not wrong to say that suffering is caused by desire, our own or other people’s, but certainly our faith does not teach us not to desire at all. Instead, it teaches us to desire God’s will in our lives and the lives of others.
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus taught His disciples about His impending Passion, Death and Resurrection. Jesus suffered because He desired God’s will to be done. But rather than eliminating desire, and hence suffering, from our lives, Christianity teaches us to turn our desires towards God. We pray for this every time we say the Lord’s prayer: Your will be done.
But what is God’s will? Therein lies the tricky part, because God’s will for you is not the same as God’s will for me. Fortunately, God has given each of us a kind of road map to discovering what His will for us is.
First, it is important to recognise that God has a master plan, which involves His individual plans for each of us. In order for this plan to be carried out, God requires our cooperation, and that cooperation from us is God’s will for us. God has given each of us specific gifts to achieve His plan for us. The trick way to finding out these gifts is to recognise that whatever is good for us is pleasurable. When we use our gifts, we find joy in it. Some people call these gifts our passion.
So to find out God’s will for us, it is imperative that we follow our passions. Find out what you are passionate about and what brings you life. In developing these areas you will find your gifts, and in finding and developing your gifts, you will find God’s will for you.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: We pray for all individuals discerning their direction in life and God’s will for them, may they look for what God has already gifted them with and develop these further.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for our God-given gifts.