What are Vested Interests?
In our quest for the “new”—whatever this may mean for you—unresolved vested interests threaten to drag us back into the “old” unless we deliberately slay them.
In Israel’s quest for the Promised Land, their vested interest lay in the security Egypt provided. Their negativity betrayed them: “we remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumber, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic” (Numbers 11:5). It’s interesting that they remembered the food in detail, but forgot their back-breaking bondage. Selective memory is a terrible thing—but happens the minute we encounter our first hiccup in the transition process. Suddenly, we miss the “comforts” of the “old.”
So, what’s a vested interest?
A vested interest, then, is anything in which you find a sense of identity (other than Him), anything in which you have placed your security. And this may not necessarily involve “bad things.”
Typical vested interests are one’s denominational affiliation, a certain worship style, a particular teaching emphasis or personality, convenient relationships, our status or perceived influence in an organisation, or even “good children’s ministry for our kids.” It’s a mix of these sometimes good and sometimes not-so-good things in which we, by default, depend and ultimately defend. And although it’s often done unconsciously, these things usurp our affections and allegiances.
When we catch a glimpse of the Promised Land, we realise the bondage of our Egypt and resolve to change—usually, when the frustration factor finally trumps our comfort level. However, the destination isn’t a place, it’s a Person. Or more specifically, it’s a relationship with the Person of the Godhead wherein we find our identity (and security) in Him alone. And it’s only in dying to our vested interests—repenting of our false allegiances and misplaced affections—that we strip off the excess baggage. This is principally a matter of trust. Can we trust God to satisfy every longing of our heart? Or are still addicted to artificial stimulants for our spiritual kicks?
Until we slay our default vested interests, we’ll find ourselves defending our positions—whatever these might be—rather than exploring our horizons.
When, in the middle of the transition, you start to long for the comforts of the “old,” it might be helpful to remember the frustration factor that helped get you on your way in the first place. More importantly, keeping our eyes on the Prize—a firsthand, uncluttered relationship with the Godhead—empowers us to slay our vested interests, and redefine our liberated lives from His vantage point. Then, the sky is the limit.