Greetings, Dear Friends!
And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.
Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog, so leave a post, share an insight or story, and bless lots of people! Maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.
Now on to my topic...
I've been thinking a lot about the power of the will, God's will and ours. God's will is a powerful, raging river, full of grace and mercy, strength and provision. Our will is a disjointed, smooth path - easy to walk on, but leads us away from our appointed destiny.
When God's will crosses your will, what do you do? What's your first response? Do you go your own way and do your own thing, or do you - in spite of your emotions and your feelings - jump in the river?
God's Word reminds us, "I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me." We can. But so often, we don't.
Read this great excerpt from by John Henry Newman (written in the 1800's - taken from "Joy & Strength):
"Why is it that we in the very Kingdom of grace, surrounded by angels and preceded by saints, nevertheless can do so little, and instead of mounting with wings like eagles, grovel in the dust, and do but sin, and confess alternately? Is it that the 'power' of God is not in us? Is it literally that we are not 'able' to perform God's commandments? God forbid. We are able. We DO have a power within us to do what we are commanded to do. What is it we lack? The power? No, the will. What we lack is the simple, earnest, sincere inclination and aim to use what God has given us, and what we have in us."
I've learned that obedience to God brings power to my faith. Every time I've forsaken the smooth path of selfishness that I might jump in the raging, unpredictable river of obedience, I've gained momentum in my walk of faith, I've learned on a new level just how powerful God is, and I've learned to mistrust my selfish inclinations on a whole new level.
Even Jesus submitted His will to His Father in Heaven. He came to earth specifically to do the Father's will (See John 6:38). Likewise, we are here to do the Father's will.
How is it that we so easily take the freedom He offers us, and use it to go our own way? All around me I see people walking away from their commitments to love and to forgive and to live as Christ-followers. Not that we can do anything on our own, but as we stay closely linked in fellowship with the Father, He will move in us to will and to act according to His beautiful purposes for us (See Phil. 2:13).
What comes up when God crosses our will with a command to obey? All too often it's stubbornness, selfishness, entitlement, pride, excuses, explanations, etc. It's not easy to obey, but it's critical to our walk with Jesus.
What does God want us to do when faced with the opportunity to take the easy path or the raging river? He wants us to trust Him and jump in! May we leave our imagined rights and false security on the river bank and trust God to take us to that next place of purity, of promise, of provision. His ways are always best.
Every time I've chosen to obey - even when it cost me dearly - I came out the other side far more grounded and strengthened to stand in the next place God assigned to me. When we forsake the risk obedience often requires, and we choose our own comfortable way instead, we miss out on the blessing of this adventure of faith. And, we reap the consequences of our unbelief and disobedience.
We must not take our cue from the masses around us. Many are running down the path of least resistance. May we have the honor and the humility to trust God more than we trust ourselves; to love Him more than we love our personal comforts; and to submit to His will more than we do our selfish ways.
If we say we love Him but don't obey Him, we don't really know Him. If we say we follow Him but we repeatedly walk away from His invitation to jump in the river, we really aren't following Him. Even if we perform miracles in His name and are in the center of one supernatural act after another, but continue to disregard His will and voice, and refuse to obey Him, we will not enter the Kingdom (see Math. 7:21).
We are saved by grace, but we are identified as His own when we listen to His voice and do what He says.
"My sheep listen to My voice: I know them and they follow Me" (John 10:27).
Want His will? Here it is:
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for THIS is God's will for those who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Obey Him today, even if you don't feel like it. God's will for you is always your best-case-scenario! And on the other side of that obedience waits blessing, power, and provision.