The Gospel Coalition

"What do you want?"  John 1:38, NIV

That is the first thing Jesus says in John's gospel: "What do you want?"  It's a searching question.  What do we want out of life?  Out of Christianity?  Why are we Christians at all?  Isn't it because we want something?  Okay.  Everybody wants something.  But if it's Christ we're approaching to get what we want, then surely what we want is spiritual and eternal and not earthly and temporal in nature.

In a sermon preached in 1740, Jonathan Edwards pointed out that we ask God for basically two kinds of things.  We ask him for temporal blessings, like health and jobs and family needs.  We also ask him for spiritual blessings.  But Edwards noted how much more frequently and fervently we ask for temporal blessings:

"They don't need any preaching to stir them up to take thorough care to obtain those outward things. . . . And if they begin to suffer for want of those things, how much do they make of their sufferings! . . . Had God nothing better to bestow upon you, when he had made you his children, than a little money or land, that you seem so much to behave yourselves as if you thought this was your chief good? . . . I am bold to say that God is now offering the blessing of his Holy Spirit to this town, and I am bold to say we may have it only for the asking."

Jesus said, "How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13).  God's best can be ours freely, through the merit of Christ.  We don't have to deserve it.  But we do have to want it enough to ask him for it.