We all have either moments, or areas of our lives, where we struggle to give something up for God. One of my areas is entertainment, whether it is the movies I watch or video games I play, I tend to push aside what God wants in favor of what I want. I don’t typically see an immediate repercussion for ignoring God’s will, but what is the long-term price I am paying?
Doing whatever you want to despite it being against God’s will for you can lead to a less fulfilling life. Our hobbies are like broken cisterns, we can put water in them but they will always run dry at some point. No matter how much fun we are having in that moment or what we think we will gain from that activity, it will always let us down eventually. Our hobbies and interests outside of God cannot fill our lives with meaning because those things only have the meaning we give them. As humans, what we can give is finite. However, God is like a fountain, never ceasing to bring fresh water. When we live our lives and conduct our activities according to His will, He will be the one giving us meaning. Therefore, our meaning will never run dry.
Ignoring God’s will instead of embracing it can lead to the needs of others going unmet. There have been times when I was so focused on what I wanted that I failed to provide something that someone else needed. Whether I was focused on a movie, video games, woodworking, baking, etc., it doesn’t matter. If I am so wrapped up in what I want that I can’t notice that someone else needs something, then I am in the wrong. It means that I am possibly neglecting to provide something that God wants me to provide. If I ignore what that person needs, then I am quite possibly ignoring what God wants me to do for that person.
Throwing the Lord’s will aside in favor of our own wants and desires can lead to a gap developing between Him and us. Every chance to do the Lord’s will is a chance to get closer to Him, but it only works if we choose to say “yes.” If we choose not to follow His will when we are given the opportunity, we risk drifting further from Him. When Michael Jordan left the Chicago Bulls the first time and chose to play baseball, that is like choosing to follow our own wants instead of God’s. Jordan played two seasons of baseball and he struggled mightily to make progress, this is like us when we aren’t following the Lord’s will. When Jordan came back to the Bulls he wasn’t as efficient as he had previously been, he was out of practice, a distance had developed between himself and the game of basketball. This is like us when we come back to God, we are not in sync like we were before, a distance has developed. Like a basketball player needs to practice in order to stay sharp, we need to follow God’s will whenever the opportunity arises so that we can stay in practice as Christians. The more we don’t practice our faith, the more likely we are to drift away from God completely, and that is a scary thought.
Another negative effect of ignoring the Lord’s will in favor of our own is that it doesn’t model Christ-like behavior for those around us. We are told by Scripture to “let our light shine”, and replacing our will with the Savior’s is a big part of that. So if our neighbors, friends, and children see us doing things that go against God’s will we can send the wrong message about who God is and what He expects of us.
Multiple times throughout Scripture we are told that we are to follow the Lord’s will. To not follow the Lord’s will is to be in direct opposition to Him. That right there is a pretty good reason to follow His will over our own. After all, a common response for a parent to make when their child asks them why they must do something is, “because I told you to, and I know what is best for you.” Well, God told us to follow His will, and He knows what is best for us.
The above is in no way a comprehensive list. It is merely what is on my mind at this time and what I thought I could communicate clearly. If anyone has other reasons to add to this list, then please feel free to do so by leaving a comment. I would love to see what other people thought of that I may have overlooked.