“I Can’t Want To!”

by Colonel Bill Luttrell –

Ah! Another year cresting on the horizon! A new opportunity at life and the self-imposed anticipation that many things will be new and different, that somehow my deep-down desires and needs will be met with a flood of refreshing inspiration and revelation. It is as though, when I cross over the line from 1998 into the final year of this century, all things will become new.

God knows we need it! The world around us is becoming more corrupt and more threatening with each new dawn. Where are we headed? When will the craziness stop? Well, enough of this doom and gloom. What does make a difference in this world–who can make a difference?

A vision for this next century rests in the souls of each of us! Yes, we have something to say about our future–the future of the Army and the future of the world! The question is: can one person make a difference? Are we serious about it, and are we willing to make the personal sacrifices?

Our three-year-old granddaughter, when prompted by her parents to prepare for bed, stated, “…I can’t want to…!” In spite of the reality that a good night’s sleep was necessary and appropriate for her, she desired to linger on and avoid doing what she knew she must do. Are we knowingly resisting doing our part, crying out “I can’t want to,” while at the same time knowing it’s best for us–the Army and the world?

The Scripture echoes our opportunity and our hesitancy! For the good that I will to do, I do not do…” (Romans 7:19 NKJV). The simple and yet frustrating challenge of choice propels us into a channel of blessing and service or a course of self-will and personal desire. Following the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were lost and without direction. Seeking some comfort in what was familiar to them, they returned to their livelihood of fishing. Catching no fish, they were once again captivated by the power and love of Jesus. Instead of continuing on their course of self-fulfillment, they caught the vision which Jesus had for them. When Peter focused his will on the love of Jesus and his mission (“…feed and tend my sheep…and love me…”) the freedom to do God’s will became clear and possible. Even the desire to serve and love God became a reality.

We in the Army (soldier, officer, adherent, Advisory Council member, or friend) have unprecedented opportunity in the year 1999. We can by the invitation of the Territorial Commander and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit express our vision for the mission of The Salvation Army in the 21st century. And the year 1999 is when this inspiration is going to be heard.

With this in mind, Commissioner David Edwards reminds us of the context of this impact: “We are an Army: we have been called by God to be an Army and to fight against the forces of sin.” Thus we are The Salvation Army. An Army on the march, never in retreat, always going forward. We are an Army sustained and directed by God. An Army unlike any other army!

We are a church: an “evangelical part of the universal Christian Church, members of Christ’s /Body, holding to the historic faith of the church centered on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. A Church unlike any other Church!”

There is great opportunity for The Salvation Army in our world today. Be a part of God’s continuing plan for the Army which he raised up and sustains today! Overcome your human tendency to “can’t want to” and let’s all get in there and work under his inspiration; tell the same Gospel message in a new and challenging way! You can do this personally by seeking out those to whom you can minister (your next door neighbor). You can do it as a part of your corps (join a vision team–connect to some group ministry, a youth program, a prayer group). You can do it as a part of your community. (Launch out to bring hope and guidance to a group of mothers and their children.)

“We will go forward at God’s command; Who holds eternity in his hand; Pledging our energy, heart and mind; Claiming the future as he designed; Led by the Spirit to visions new; Powered by God’s presence, his work we’ll do. Joyfully serving him all our days. Each giving moment, a song of praise!”
(Diane O’Brien)

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