Each of us has been given our own independent will. It can be competitive or compliant. It can be an asset or a liability. It can also lead us to victory or to defeat depending on how we exercise it. It all depends on how we position our will in relation to the will that really matters—the will of God.
There are times in our life when we find ourselves in a bracket similar to those that outline the sixty-four teams that start the NCAA “Road to the Final Four.” We’re at one end of the bracket and God is at the other; and with every game, we move closer and closer to one another. God is winning His games, of course; and by sheer force of will, we’re winning ours. Eventually, we meet in the final bracket: It’s my will against God’s.
This has happened in Scripture many times. Remember Jonah who exercised his will and refused God’s calling (and what it cost him)? Remember Peter who expressed his will to Jesus, saying the Master would never die (and the rebuke it brought him: “Get behind Me, Satan!”)? Remember Pharaoh who refused to obey God’s will through Moses (and the price he paid)? And let’s not forget the result of the expression of Adam and Eve’s competitive will in the Garden.
Do you recall times in your life when you have stood your ground in that final bracket, thinking you could out-will God (and the resulting misery it brought you)? Peter learned and taught, “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17).
The Pleasure of God’s Will
Yes, our will is a gift from God—it is part of the divine image we bear. But God gave us a will in order that we might give it back to Him, that we might choose to submit our will to His and enjoy the pleasure of His presence (the pleasure of His blessings) both now and for all eternity.
The wisest, most mature quest any human being can begin and continue throughout life is the discovery of God’s will—and then to say “Yes” to it each day. We do that, of course, through His Word where we discover that it is God’s will for us to be saved through His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9). Then we discover how to follow Christ as Lord of our life when we submit our will to His. Here are just a few of His commands for us to follow:
The Pronouncement of God’s Will
In the recent National Championship game, it was not evident until the last few minutes of the competition whose will and skill would overcome and be victorious. Would it be the Gonzaga Bulldogs or the North Carolina Tar Heels? Both teams had the competitive spirit and the will to win. And both teams had amazing coaches. Some believe the Carolina team had the greater will to win because of their loss the previous year. Losses are teaching moments.
In the spiritual realm, we need to remember that we have a Coach who provides everything we need to be victorious, but we must allow Him to lead—we cannot question His counsel and direction. The Lord God is the only one who knows your future—He’s the only one. Jeremiah 10:23 tells us, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” Though the plans we make seem right to us, they are usually oriented around our feelings, which can deceive and ruin us.
Stop competing against God and begin enjoying the pleasures of God’s perfect will in your life. If you are searching and trying to find the will of God for your life, then I encourage you to start by reading your Bible every day. It is through the study of the Word that you will find God’s will for your life.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
You may have read Franklin Graham’s 1995 autobiography, Rebel With a Cause—Finally Comfortable Being Graham. In his own words, Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and Ruth Bell Graham, tells the story of his own rebellion against the faith in which he was raised by his parents. He looked and acted the part—the cover of the book even pictures him in his leather motorcycle jacket.
But unlike actor James Dean in the 1995 classic, Rebel Without a Cause, Franklin Graham finally embraced the cause he had been rebelling against—the cause of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Today, Franklin Graham is known around the world as head of both Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian humanitarian relief organization, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, succeeding his father in that latter role.
Many people don’t think about another of God’s most fruitful servants as a “rebel with a cause”—but Moses was. He was a rebel who spent a good part of his life on the run—running from both man and God under a mixed set of circumstances. But one thing Moses was never without: a cause.The Missionary’s Path
Next to the Bible itself, few documents are as hallowed and compelling as letters sent by missionaries of old describing their work. The tradition of missionary letters goes all the way back to the apostle Paul and his famous epistles. Missionary biographies abound with correspondence and stories that motivate us to greater service.
Few of us are called to vocational missionary service in the usual sense of the term, but the word missionary simply means someone charged with the mission of Christ—and that includes all of us who know Him. In His Great Commission, Jesus was appointing each of us to bear His name and advance His cause.Scripture by the Numbers
Let’s talk numbers in the Bible. Not the Book of Numbers, which is the fourth book of the Old Testament. Nor am I thinking of biblical numerology, though it’s fascinating to study the significance of numbers like three and seven and twelve and forty in Scripture. Any of those subjects would be meaningful; but the purpose of this article is numerical. So let’s crunch the numbers.
In a world in which the traditional family is an endangered species, it’s encouraging to see in the story of Joseph’s family God’s special love and plan for the family unit. Dr. David Jeremiah shares three ways God showed favor to Joseph’s family and continues to bless families even in today’s culture.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah