My Stubborn Will
One of the most godly men I’ve ever known used to say, “The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar!” That has certainly been my experience, how about you? We gladly dedicate ourselves to the Lord Who emptied Himself for us to the point of dying on the Cross for us. Then we find that our devotion doesn’t seem to hold up very well under stress. Failures on our part begin to add up and we wonder if, after all, we are part of the crowd Jesus referred to as those who address Him properly as “Lord, Lord…” but who fail ultimately to actually obey Him. And, at times, it seems that there are plenty of church members, who, perhaps unwittingly, by their example or words, also cause us to feel like we are uncommitted to Jesus. I mean…we just don’t measure up.
Now I don’t mean to say anything to cause us to relax our commitment to Jesus, but I would like to say something that might help us trust His ability to bring and keep us close to Him until He comes again. You see, we can never find confidence in ourselves. It must come from the one who loves us. Even in the realm of human relationships, particularly that of husband and wife, if your marriage remains a bond of love that has lasted through decades…how it is so? Are you the perfect husband? Wife? Have you always done right by your marriage vows? Haven’t you, in fact, failed far too many times to count? Why then is your marriage still alive and committed? Isn’t it because your marriage partner has refused to cast you off? Isn’t it because of their patience, their forgiveness and their absolute refusal to define you by your failures? And if we looked at your marriage from the other partner’s perspective, the same thing would be true, wouldn’t it? This glue that keeps us together is called love and it comes from the One Who is very love!
At a religious conference a young woman held up a blank sheet of paper saying that it contained God’s will for her life. The only writing on it was her signature at the bottom of the page. Then she said, “I have accepted God’s will for my life without knowing fully what it is. I am leaving it to Him to fill in the details.” Isn’t that a pretty good illustration of commitment to God? Yes, we understand how to become Christians, as the New Testament directs. We know that God wants us to be part of His church, to be always learning and obeying His truth, to worship Him and to do what is good. But in what context are we to serve? With whom? What specifically are our gifts and opportunities? What are the dangers we will face? What thorn in the flesh may come to us? And on and on go the questions whose answers we cannot know ahead of time. How can I sign my blank paper for God with confidence since I have this stubborn will that tries repeatedly to get me to crawl off the altar where I make living sacrifice of myself to Him? In 1 Corinthians 1:8 the Bible says this, “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And Jude 24 speaks to us of “Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy…” Our confidence cannot be in our own performance. God forbid! That is far too pathetic! But the One Who calls us is faithful and He will do it(I Thessalonians 5:24)! He is vastly stronger than our stubborn wills. And consider this from 1 Corinthians 12:3, “No one can say (that means keep on saying) Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” We are not in this alone, thanks to the Trinity!