Faithlife Sermons

If I Get What I Want

I'd Be Thankful If...  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I’d Be Thankful If...

This is Thanksgiving and then we’re moving right into Christmas.
We’ve lived long enough to have 20/20 hindsight and have it mean something.
I don’t know where it came from, Spanky and our Gang, or another famous Xmas movie.
We can look back w/ the benefit of perspective.
Sitting on Santa’s lap asking for pony then getting that pony on Christmas morning was like the ideal Christmas for a kid.
This is Thanksgiving and then we’re moving right into Christmas.
For the next 6 weeks the underlying focus of our lives is based on what we’ve received in our lives.
Thanksgiving: Be thankful for all that you have.
Christmas: Gifts given, and more importantly, received.
Yes, the gift of Jesus and salvation.
Yes, the gift of Jesus and salvation.
But, we all have to admit our relationships go a lot better when we receive good gifts from the people we expect to get good gifts from.
Brutal honest: We have more disappointed in our lives when we didn’t get something than we were when we didn’t give something.
When I was growing up, the metaphor for the perfect Xmas gift as a child was a Pony.
I don’t know where it came from, Spanky and our Gang, or another famous Xmas movie.
Sitting on Santa’s lap asking for pony then getting that pony on Christmas morning was like the ideal Christmas for a kid.
Then somebody did a commercial, somebody else did a sitcom episode about the rich kid who actually got a pony for Christmas.
At first everybody was jealous.
Then, the rich kid revealed what it was really like to have a pony.
Ponies are mean. They bite.
They eat a lot. And, then there’s the clean-up.
They don’t fetch, curl up in your lap, they’re not good pets.
Horses don’t attach emotionally the way dogs do.
Turns out, ponies are horrible Christmas gifts for most everyone.
But that’s Christmas. It’s Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is an attitude.
What are we thankful for?
Why do we have such a hard time coming up w/ a long list of things we should be thankful for?
We’ve got a lot of things, but, do we have the things we really want?
It’s hard, if not impossible, to be thankful if we don’t have what we want.
The genuine attitude of Thanksgiving is fundamentally based on having what you really want.
Those things that come from Christmases past, birthdays, wedding days and anniversaries, careers, accomplishments, salaries and savings accounts.
Did you get what you want from your marriage? From your family? From your career?
Did you get what you wanted out of life so far?
Being thankful is based on getting what you want.
If you don’t have what you want it will be hard to be thankful this week; and every week.
I’d be thankful if I had what I want. But, I don’t, so I’m not.
Or, so you have what you want? If you do, then it will be easy to be thankful.
The obvious place to begin, then, is, what do you want?

What Do You Want?

Tricky question. Tough question.
Most of us here are in the back half of our lives.
The older we get the less WHAT there is.
The younger we are the more WHAT there is.
When we are younger there are more things we want.
When we are older the more time we want.
It is a quantity of quality time w/ people we care about.
So “what” changes as we age and gain perspective.
"What” differs with age.
But, there is always a “what”.
What do you want?
Let’s explore a few things that might be high on your list.

I Want My Way

Would everybody just do what I tell them to do. It will work out best for all of us....or will it?
We want it for ourselves. But, we wouldn’t let our kids have their way, or our subordinates at work all have their way.
We all told them if they insist on getting their way there will be problems.
B/C everybody can’t have their way.
How many times when you insisted on getting your own way you ended up getting in your own way.

If you get your way you end up getting in your own way

We can push and bully and force our way down the throats of everybody else.
Up to a point, we can force our kids or grand kids to do things our way.
At that time you get your way, but the relationship is severely damaged you don’t get what you want now.
Maybe you were one of those children who were forced by your parents to do everything their way and now you struggle w/ your thoughts about that parent.
At that time you got your way, but in time the relationship was so damaged
At our church in Indiana we had crowding issues so I forced 2 adult classes to change hours.
I forced the change, got what I wanted, but lost the respect of just about every adult in those classes.
I got my way at that time but lost what I wanted, their desire to follow my lead.
First, I want my way. But, if I get my way, I will get in my own way and I may lose my way.
Second, I want to do what I want to do.
There are things that we want. But really, we want to do what we want to do.
We want to do what we want to do and we want everybody else to want to do what we want to do.

I Want to do What I Want to do

We want to do what we want to do and we want everybody else to want to do what we want to do.
But, if we do what we want to do we end up where we don’t want to be.
As adults, no one can force you to do anything.
We want to do what we want to do and we want everybody else to want to do what we want to do.
Parents, Grandparents, it helps for us to understand this and communicate it to our kids.
A transition is made
After a certain point, size, age, or whatever, no one can force you to do anything.
But, we can, however, keep you from doing things.
That’s what prisons do.
Jail is an adult “time-out” or “Getting grounded”

If you do just what you want to do then you will end up in a place you don’t want to be.

And, your options will be limited.
Jail’s not the only place you don’t want to be.
Hospitals are another place adults who did what they wanted to do were forced to take a time out.
And, your options are limited there, in traction, on pain-killers, eating soft foods.
The fundamental problem w/ what we want to do is we want to feel good all the time.
Doing what we want to do means pursuing what feels good.
Money, food, travel, houses, cars, games, alcohol, sex ...
The things we enjoy. The things that bring pleasure.

The problem with the pursuit of perpetual pleasure is addictive and it undermines the pleasure which is what we want.

Too much of a good thing eventually loses its pleasing effect.
A past-time becomes a pathway to something that controls you.
Lottery winners. Approx. 70% of all lottery winners end up in worse financial shape than they were before they won w/in 3 years.
Now, it’s not what you want and you wish you never would have gotten it in the first place.
Doing what you want to do, buying what you want to buy, going where you want to go, thinking you’re getting exactly what you want will lead you to a place where you don’t what to be.
What you want now, is not what you want later.
First was, I want my way.
Second, I want to do what I want to do.
Third is, I want it now.

I Want it Now

I may not know what I want but I know when I want it.
But, the problem becomes, what I want now isn’t what I will always want.
Wants change as we get older, our circumstances change.
Think about something you just had to have at a time in your life and w/in a few years you no longer wanted it.
You had to have it right now but later you didn’t want it.
That car and the debt that came w/ it.
An outfit, long since gone out of style.
That outfit that is 2 sizes ago.
That marriage.
Something or somebody you had to have, then.

What we want today often ends up in the way of what we want tomorrow

Then, we can’t have what we want today b/c we got what we wanted yesterday.
What we want now is not what we want later, and later lasts longer.
This leads to regret. And, the regret lasts longer than the pleasure that the thing brought in the first place.
Now, we want to go back in time and not get what we wanted then.
Not say I do, right then.
Don’t take that job or make that move.
Don’t buy that house or that car.
Regret is ge
But, there is no rewind button in life.

Regret is getting what you wanted but not having what you want

Your options have been limited, or even eliminated.
Now, you have the inability to get what you want b/c you got what you wanted.

What do you want?

Tricky question.

If we always get our way we get in our own way and we lose our way.

If we always do what we want to do we end up in a place we don’t want to be.

If we get what we want now we may not get what we want later.

C.S. Lewis was an atheist/agnostic then became a Christian as an adult.
“The Great Divorce” is what he imagined Hell might be like.
In Hell, everyone gets everything they want simply by thinking of it.
You’d think, wait a minute, that’s Heaven! No. It’s really Hell.
B/C nobody needs anybody else. You want something, think of it. It’s yours.
PPL kept moving farther away from each other, more and more isolated.
And in a world where you get whatever ever pleases you eventually the pleasing effect goes away. Then, you’re just isolated.
What do you want?
James, the half-brother of Jesus had something to say about this.
Mary had Jesus first. Then, Mary and Joseph had more kids.
None of them became followers of Jesus while He was here.
Anybody have an older sibling w/ a Messiah complex?
James had Jesus.
He just thought He was crazy.
But, after the resurrection James became a follower of Jesus and declared his Brother was his Lord.
He wrote a letter about being a follower of Jesus.
And in he wrote about getting what we want.
James 4:1–3 NIV
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Why do we Fight?

Why do we fight? We don’t get what we want and that spills out on those around us.
Inside us is a war of wants. A battle between desires.
So, the conflict rages inside each one of us. Then, conflicted people come together to try to get what both want.
Now it’s a battle between what I want and what you want. Both want to do what they want to do, their own way, and right now.
So, nobody is getting what want so we fight, even to the death.

Why do we Kill Things?

“We desire, but we don’t have, so we kill.”
Have you known somebody who wanted their marriage to death?
That is, they wanted their marriage to be just the way they wanted it to be and they tried so hard to manipulate it that way the other person left b/c they didn’t want t/b controlled like that.
Sexual predators, harassers, exploiters, abusers who kill political careers, entertainment careers, sports careers b/c they had a desire, didn’t get what they wanted so they forced it.
If we don’t understand what’s going on behind the desire we have the potential to destroy the things that are most important to us.
“You covet” Pursue hotly. In hot pursuit. Go after at all cost.
Push, push, push.
So you get what you want but it’s not what you want later, it costs what you wanted more and now not where you want to be.
No pleasure, no satisfaction.
So we quarrel and fight.
Blame everyone else. Spouse, parents, gov’t., other party, boss, the economy, whatever.
This week, everyone I’m in conflict with is coming over for turkey.
I’m not thankful b/c I don’t have what I want.
If I just got what I want I’d be thankful.
But if you get what you want it turns out to be not what you want later so now I’m not thankful again.
We don’t know what we want.
We’re distracted by all the things that advertisers say that I should want.
If we spend our lives getting what we’re told we should want we’ll miss out on the joy of getting what we really want.
If we don’t figure this out for ourselves no one can figure it out for us.
So, if we can figure out what we want, then we can go about getting it.
James says God can give it to us and all we have to do is ask.
But, we don’t ask. Why not?

Why don’t we Ask?

“You don’t have (what you want) b/c you don’t ask.”
Why don’t we ask? 2 reasons:
He’ll say ‘no’. Don’t bother asking God, parents, etc.
He’s not come through before, by would He now.
We’ve all done it. We’ve asked for things we really, really wanted, or at least thought we did at the time, said “in Jesus’ name”, but it never happened.
Thank God that it didn’t.
We love our children too much to give them everything they ask for.
We love our children too much to give them everything they ask for.
Obviously, God loves us even more.

Why don’t we Get What we Want?

“We don’t receive because we ask w/ wrong motives.”
Greek: “ask wrongly”
It has to do w/ asking for what we want.
What we ask for is too shallow and God knows it’s not really what we want. And He loves us too much to give it to us.
These are the wants that serve no other purpose but temporary satisfaction and we’ll want something else later.
He sees that. He knows us.
Rather, He offers us what He knows we really want.
God wants so much more for us.
He wants nothing from us. He wants everything for us.
God knows we will never get what we really want until we discover what we really value.
Jesus came to point us toward not simply what we value but what is most valuable.
We only get what we want when we make it the habit of our life to pursue what is most valuable.
When we get this, we will get what we want and it will be easy to be thankful.
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