Nov 19, 2018
A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.
Once again in my devotions, I came across an intriguing question. “Why do you need to lose the battle of wills against God?” Maybe you never thought of obedience in those terms before. Maybe you never thought about following God as a battle of wills, but when you really stop and think about it, that’s exactly what we do when we decide to give our lives to him and follow him.
Why would I approach obedience from that perspective, you might ask. We can go back to Genesis 3 for the answer and that same theme follows us all the way to present day humanity. Adam and Eve wanted their way. They wanted their selfish desire to trump God’s rule not to eat from the tree in the center of the Garden of Eden. It might sound like a silly, inconsequential rule to you and me. It was only a single tree in a huge garden full of trees from which they could eat, so what was the big deal?
I think the issue was not so much the particular tree or the type of fruit, but it was the command. It was the willingness to set aside their desires for God’s. It was their willingness to say, “God, I’m going to do what you want, instead of what I want.” It’s really that simple. The same simple formula persists from that first act of disobedience to this very day. It’s a matter of my telling God I want to usurp his will with mine. I want what I want and I’m willing to suffer the consequences for it.
When we really stop and think about that attitude, if we had any brain cells functioning at all, we would realize what a monumental mistake that would be. We are not God. We cannot dictate the consequences of our actions. The laws of physics, the laws that govern the nature of sowing and reaping, the consequences of actions and reactions just happen. God set them in place at his act of creation. He doesn’t need to change them, although sometimes he does intervene and releases us from the consequences of our actions. Not often, but sometimes. So our behaviors reap certain consequences over time just as planting certain seeds will harvest crops of a certain kind and we would not expect any other fruit or vegetable to sprout and grow in its place. I don’t expect to get oranges when I plant apple seeds. I expect apples.
So we know good, God desired actions and behavior, brings about good, God desired consequences, put in place at the beginning of time. We also know that evil actions and behavior will eventually reap those same rewards, evil consequences that we must bear in time. It’s the irrefutable nature of the cause and effects of sowing and reaping. We also recognize that evil begins with my selfish desire and my selfish belief that I know better than God.
From the first encounter with that spirit in opposition to God, Satan, the Devil, Beelzebub, whatever name you want to use to identify him, we have been deceived and convinced that we can exert our will over God’s and come out okay. We can’t. God is still God. Always has been and always will be. We are as nothing in the scope of his creation and yet we are the jewel of his creation. He knows every bird that falls from the sky and takes time to deal with our petty arguments that we use to try to lift ourselves on pedestals higher than his. All ours crumble. His has and will always remain intact.
We try to demand of God. Fix this. Give me that. Take care of this problem. Why don’t you answer this question. Stop this suffering. Make me prosperous so I can give more. Do you see how disgusting we must sound to the maker of the universe? To our creator? How arrogant. How self centered. How stupid we can be. Yet God still loves us. He still wants us to come to him and accept the sacrifice he made for us so we might be forgiven.
Some would say, “God is a loving God and everyone will receive his forgiveness in the end.” I hope for everyone’s sake that is true. My Bible says it is not. God operates with us in covenants. Covenants require participation from both parties to the covenant. God promises certain things, far more than we deserve. And he keeps his promises. But we must also promise certain things and keep our promises. We must follow him. We must set aside our desires for his. We must become his maidservant or manservant. We must usurp our will to his. We must act out of an obedient heart and understand his every command is centered on making us more like him every day. And he never gives up. He never quits molding us and refining us.
I asked for his forgiveness for my sins 58 years ago. I gave myself to him in full commitment to whatever he wanted of me 42 years ago. Yet every day as I read and study his word, I find new challenges to help me become more like him each day. Like Paul, I haven’t arrived yet. I’m still fighting the good fight. One of these days, I’ll be too old and feeble to do much more than pray, but I will be able go do that. And I’m sure Satan will continue to push excuses in my path to try to keep me from doing God’s will. He makes it easy. He wants to destroy us. He wants to move as many as possible away from God’s eternal reward for those who are willing to lose the battle of wills against God.
In our competitive social culture in this day and age, we want to win. We argue and plan and fight expecting to win. We scheme and connive and twist and turn events so we will win. But if we want to see Jesus, we must take a different perspective. In the end, the loser wins. The loser of the battle of wills against God wins. The loser of demands fulfilled wins. The loser of life for God’s sake wins. Jesus came and turned our rules upside down because he knew we didn’t understand the relationship with God our fearsome, most awesome, benevolent, wonderful, creator, savior and friend.
So today, in the battle of wills in your life, who wins? It’s a fascinating question. If God wins, so do you. If you win, you only win when God wins. If God loses, you lose, too. So you lose so you both can win, or you win and you both lose. It is an intriguing question. It’s a good day to lose, I mean win, I mean lose so you can win! I hope you know what I mean. If you want to win, make sure the battle of wills must fall to God...always.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.