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:
- Love God with your whole being (Matthew 22:37-38).
- Fear God, not man (Matthew 10:28).
- Treat others the way you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
- Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39-40).
- Give to God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:19-21).
- Love one another (John 13:35).
- Honor God’s laws (Matthew 5:17-19).
- Ask God for whatever you need (John 15:7).
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.
The world today can be a frightening place, and the direction it’s heading only adds to the alarm. Do you have the courage to overcome your fears? Dr. David Jeremiah continues his series, Courage to Conquer, with guidance for trusting God when you’re afraid—just like King David did.