Russell and Duenes

Fix my “wanter,” O God!

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From C.S. Lewis,

A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people) like a crutch which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it is idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits etc.) can do the journey on their own.

This echoed a quip by Dallas Willard, who said that God is in the business of “fixing our wanters.” That is, God wants to so transform our affections and desires  that they become ever more unified with Christ’s affections and desires. Thus, we learn to live not out of a sense of moral and spiritual duty, but delight. This is old hat for me, having read so much John Piper over the years, but I’ve always felt that my affections in general were rather cold, that I tend toward doing my duty rather than living from the heart. So I wondered when I live from the heart. What am I doing that doesn’t feel like duty?

1. Playing catch with a friend

2. Eating taquitos from Cielito Lindo on Olvera St.

3. Watching a well-made, thought-provoking movie

4. Bodysurfing

5. Jabbering with friends about sports

6. Walking the streets in a city like New York or San Francisco

7. Watching jumbo jets takeoff and land from a prime viewing spot

8. Going out with my wife to just about anywhere

9. Broadcasting

10. Talking about the Greek text of the New Testament, or theology in general

I wish I could say that I always want to forgive others, commune with God, have a new song in my mouth, play with my sons and witness to my neighbors…or do I? Change my wanter, O God, that I might want you for you and your pleasure.


Written by Michael Duenes

February 4, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

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