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Friday, May 8, 2015

Does God need our will-power?

One of the things I really appreciate about David, the man who was acclaimed to have a "heart after God's", is his determination of will.  David faced many a "giant" in his day - not physical giants, but indeed many giants spiritually, emotionally, and in relationships.  Whether you consider his response as one of the youngest in his family, obediently pursuing the tasks his father assigned him as keeper of the flocks, alone on the backside of the grazing lands for many days and nights, or his position as the king of Israel, the ruler of a great nation of people with wavering intent when it came to serving their God, he exhibits a determination of will which comes through in each account recorded.  I have to wonder if this might just be one of the reasons we find God reflecting David's life and worship in the scriptures.  Perhaps there is a lesson or two we can glean from this "will" determination!  David could be at the lowest point in his life from a physical perspective, strength waning, body taxed to the max, and he'd still lift his head in praise.  He could be deep into the misery of depression, feeling it both physically and in the depth of his disturbed emotions, and he'd turn to God in praise, reach to him in prayer, and celebrate him in worship.  I daresay, we don't always reveal this same determination of will, choosing rather to cower in fear, give up on our pursuit, or hunker down in our depression.  We might have an opportunity here, my friends, if we'd consider the power of the will when it is surrendered to the hand of a mighty and powerful God!

Great blessings belong to those who trust in the Lord, for those who do not turn to demons and false gods for help. Lord my God, you have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us—too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count.  (Psalm 40:4-5 ERV)

It isn't that David had "will-power" as we might think of it in a natural sense. When I think of will-power, I imagine the ability I can muster within to avoid something or remain consistent with a commitment I have made. It is dependent upon me and my ability.  When we see David's will-power, it has a different determination, though.  He surrenders his will time and time again to the purposes and intent of God - knowing God will take that will and use it to turn David's circumstances around.  The difference is where the dependence is placed - one is squarely upon our own shoulders, while the other is definitely in a source not our own. 

When the will is submitted to God, there is a determination of heart which brings a yielding of mind, body, and spirit to the purpose of God.  Will is a driver of sorts for each of us, for what we "will" to do, we often find we at least make strides toward doing.  We may not "arrive" all the way at the destination we imagined, but we get moving in the direction of what we are aiming at, don't we?  Will moves us - it gives us momentum toward something.  If our will is directed toward what we imagine WE can do, we tend to rely upon the source of our own physical and emotional strength.  If our will is yielded into the hands of God, we tend to rely upon the strength he provides - even when ours wanes or falters.

It is important to note what happens when we take our will and submit it into the hands of God.  According to what we see here, we begin to experience blessings too numerous to count.  If you don't believe me, you will have to give it a try!  Wherever we submit our will, or turn our focus (because that's what will actually allows us to do), we find there is this element of trust which enters into the picture.  We determine where or in who it is we will place our trust.  Will is an inanimate "thing" which actually reveals where it is we have placed our trust.  It could be in our own self, another human being, or in the great and mighty ruler of the universe himself.  Either way, will is linked to trust.

Trust is one of the hardest things I think we have to get right in this walk on this earth.  We struggle so much with trust because of our own failures - because we have put our faith and belief in what we WILL to do and find ourselves failing miserably time and time again.  We eventually get to the place we no longer trust ourselves.  We struggle with trust because of the let downs which have occurred by placing our trust in another individual, because they have all the best of intentions, but when the rubber meets the road, they just cannot "perform" as we imagined they could.  The let down comes, and we determine we cannot trust them, either.

Will is always linked to trust, so having a solid place to put our trust is important. I think David learned that over his years of struggling with placing his trust in his own abilities or those of another.  He saw the frustrations of failure and the folly of emotional let-down when another could not measure up to what they promised.  The good news is that God isn't going to let us down, but we will never really know this until we take our will and squarely commit it to him.  We yield our efforts into his hands, we commit our plans into his purposes, and we settle into realizing his best for us.  Blessing comes to those who determine to make their focus God himself.  Just sayin!