Wanna and Gotta! Wanting to do the things that we get to and have to do in life will make it that much more exciting! In one of the “Just Keep Swimming” scenes from the movie “Finding Nemo!”, Dory asks Marlin the question, “When life gets ya down you know what you gotta do?” His quick and short response is “I don’t wanna know what you gotta do!” Dory ignores him and chants “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim. I love to swim. When you want to swim you want to swim.”
In the last two blogs I have compared just keep swimming with our need to “Just keep walking” in Jesus especially when life gets us down. And even though we know we must keep walking many Christians are like Marlin; frustrated, angry, tired, and simply don’t wanna know anymore what they gotta do when life gets them down. Our words and actions often show we are not nearly as determined to just keep walking in Jesus as we think. Many Christians end up standing on the curb when life gets them down. We might be saying “Just keep walking” but in reality we have stepped off the path because we no longer wanna know what we gotta do!
But if you think about it, Marlin doesn’t have much of a choice. He is a fish! Even if he wants to stop swimming he can’t because fish swim! He was created to swim. And we as children of the Most High God really don’t have much of a choice but to walk in Jesus either! Even if we want to stop we can’t because disciples follow! We are created to walk in Jesus! This is great news! Yet, we discover as frustrations and disappointments mount in our lives, we can still choose to stop walking in Jesus. We still walk but we are not following! That was really Dory’s point. Marlin had to swim no matter what; his choice was whether he would swim willingly or aimlessly.
He needed the reminder of why it was important to just keep swimming – because of the love relationship with his son. If there was any hope in finding Nemo again, he “had” to keep swimming. By heeding Dory’s advice Marlin kept swimming! In life we need to be reminded of why it is important for us to just keep walking – because of the love relationship with Jesus. If there is any hope in finding God daily and spending all eternity with Him we have to keep walking. By heeding the voice of God through His Spirit, through His Word, through our spiritual leaders, we not only have to keep walking, but we get to keep walking, and ultimately want to keep walking in Him!
It would be a good idea to “wanna” know what we “gotta” do BEFORE life gets us down. “Gotta” gives both the sense of “get to” and “have to” because there is “need” associated with those words. “Get to” gives the impression of privilege where “have to” infers an obligation. Both need to be employed for us to just keep walking in Jesus.
“Wanna” intimates desire, craving, yearning for, and choosing someone or something. Do we desire to walk in Him! Do we crave Jesus? Do we yearn for more of Him? Do we choose Him over all else? I daresay we do not wanna as much as we profess because we have no problem choosing just about anything else in life over time in the presence of God.
We stop walking in Jesus when we get lax in wanting Him. Gathering with the family of God is the place we experience more of Him and receive the encouragement to keep wanting and walking. Yet we have made the house of God something drastically different from the holy place it truly is! We start showing up for church only when we feel like it or when it is convenient. We arrive late or half-way through, leaving when we want and walking in and out multiple times, making worship our leisure activity instead of a holy meeting with the Savior of the world! We say whatever we please, causing dissension when we don’t understand or agree. Generally speaking we have taken an “at ease” approach to walking in Jesus! Wanting “more” seems optional! Because we know He is our friend, we forget He is also our holy God. Then we wonder how life gets us down! We would be better off admitting “We don’t wanna know what we gotta do” because at least then we are being honest with ourselves along with our “wanna’s” and “gotta’s” and are open to doing something about it!
But if we can say “yes” to wanting Jesus we will lose all excuses for not walking in Him. The truth is our actions reflect our “wanna”! As a result we do not give in every time sin crouches at our door. We violently come against anything that challenges our faith in a holy God. We pray like Jesus prayed. We sit at the feet of those who have been called to teach us, ready to receive, desiring to be equipped, zealous to apply what we learn. We do not lean on our own understanding but trust in the Lord. We do not gossip and slander. We do not focus on ourselves and circumstances but look for God in all things. We do not miss opportunities to gather with our church family for worship and study of the Word. Busyness, illness, and weariness do not keep us away from the house of God! We arrive early so we can still our hearts and minds to be in His presence and receive all He has for us. We expect God to move in our lives and to transform us by renewing our minds.
Our attitude towards wanting to, getting to, and having to plays a major role in our walking. Wanting to know what we get to do and have to do is essential to a life of overcoming. Leaving any of those three behind as we walk leaves us frustrated, tired, and angry and most likely we will just stop walking! As followers of Christ Jesus, our lives must be centered on doing what our heavenly Father wants and as a result, we discover what we get and have to do. Jesus is the perfect role model and as we follow Him and just keep walking we crave our Father’s will.
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Jesus wanted to please His Father and considered it a privilege to do His will. In order for Him to “want” what His Father wanted, and to do what His Father needed done, He laid down His own will for His Father’s. Laying down our self-will is never easy but when we want to please God in everything we say and do, we too will consider it a privilege to do His will, laying down our own, and just keep walking in Him. Doing God’s divine will far surpasses anything we could ever want in life and when we “wanna” do all things in Him we gotta just keep walking. Look at just how much Jesus wanted to know what He had and got to do in His Father.
John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
John 5:30 “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
John 8:28-29 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
John 12:49-50 “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
John 14:30-31 “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so do I. Arise, let us go from here.”
Can you sense the “wanna” in Jesus? Do you see the “get to” and “have to” attitude followed with action? Jesus did what His Father wanted because He wanted to! The relationship Jesus shares with Father is so intimate He wants what Daddy wants. Daddy’s desires become Son’s desires. The depth of this Oneness comes to light when Jesus says “I and My Father are one.” John 10:30 The relationship Jesus shared with His Father defined His identity, thus His purpose and goals in life. The same is true for us!
Bottom line: Wanting and getting to just keep walking in Jesus is done by relinquishing our own “wanna’s and “gotta’s” and taking up His! The cool thing is we don’t need to know where we’re walking we just need to keep walking. Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”