I’m pretty self-sufficient when I need to be. Take my apple remote for example. I love my apple remote. It’s so easy. It’s got minimal buttons. It’s got a special spot. I secretly call my remote “Donatello” and we spend a lot of quality time together. So when I get home and I want to watch Netflix, I expect Donatello to do his job. Recently Donatello didn’t respond and we got problems. I’m pressing buttons, pushing the buttons, leaning into the tv, etc. Finally getting up to actually turn the channel myself. Perfect…I apparently time traveled back to 1982 when we didn’t have remotes. I almost woke my son up and had him start to change the channels for me so he could start “earning” his allowance again, when I realized my wife had tapped into the "spirit of Christmas" a little too much and put a “pinecone” in front of my sensor of my tv. That misalignment of the remote to the TV was all it took for me to lose that connection and manually get up and change the channel wrecking my perfect "blanket burrito" I had tucked myself into for the night. All I needed to do was realign my remote to the TV and power would have been restored. I’ve realized when we try to do things in our own strength and will, we keep pressing harder, pushing harder, doing it in our own strength, etc. A will "powered" by me gets the job done but is there another way? Absolutely there is.
Our culture celebrates will power: I WILL succeed, I WILL survive, I WILL workout, I WILL not give up, I WILL not give in, etc. But “will power” by God’s definition is different than our culture. It’s the difference between "determination" and "inspiration." The will power that our culture tends to celebrate that is found in ourselves is fueled by “determination.” Webster's defines determination as "the act or an instance of making a decision; the condition of being determined; resoluteness; the act or an instance of ending an argument by the opinion ordecision of an authority"...that authority being me.
But there is another source of will power that is found and fueled by “inspiration.” Inspiration comes from the word "enspiren" meaning "to fill the mind and heart with grace" or "to inflame or to blow into." My point…it’s less about “will power” and more about “God’s will.” What if instead of trying to find your will power to stay pure, devoted and committed, you simply aligned yourself to God’s will power. I might say it this way:
Meaning It’s less about "mustering up" and "white knuckling" will power and it’s more about "aligning yourself" and "surrendering yourself" to God’s will to "power" your life forward.
When we exchange our will power for God’s will to power us this happens:
Our job doesn’t stay a “grind” anymore but we rediscover our purpose and become empowered and excited to make a difference with our 40+ hours a week
Our friendships become opportunities for restoration and affirmation to move each other forward into God’s future for us both
Our purity becomes less of “what” I can’t do and instead “who” I get to spend time with which is a loving God who has a beautiful life of for us to live of freedom and grace
Our family doesn’t become a burden but blessing as we discover we are placed in our families to influence and inspire
This power is best seen in Jesus life. One of the most potent moments in the Bible is when Jesus is in the Garden and He knows the cross is coming. Jesus would have grown up seeing crucifixions as a kid. It was the Roman’s form of capital punishment and many who were in Jerusalem would have known and seen crucifixions. So when Jesus is in the garden, he probably was recalling the shame, the humiliation and pain that comes from being crucified. That’s why in the garden we see Jesus in the garden sweating blood and making the agonizing phrase,
"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." Luke 22:42.
Jesus was wrestling with His own battle of wills. If He had it His way in that brief moment, His humanity was attempting to override the plan since the beginning of time. He didn’t want the suffering. No one would! Yet He knew it wasn’t His choice. It was the Father’s will that needed to be accomplished. Jesus chose in that moment to exchange his human will for God’s Divine will to be done. Jesus wasn’t overcome with a “holy brainwashing” but He chose in that moment to exchange His will power for God’s will to power Him through the cross. The bible calls this power “exousia” or "the power of choice." We see this power best in John when Jesus is revealing to His disciples He is God and that He is choosing to lay down His life so the disciples and all of humanity can have true life,
For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. JOHN 10:18
Jesus chose to bend his will to God’s will. Jesus was fully human and limited. He modeled what it means to rely on God in difficult moments when you want to choose your way instead of choosing God’s way. He was dependent on God for every decision, every choice and every temptation but didn’t sin (Hebrews 4:15). And we can be too! We can be tempted to live and do things are own way. At the end of the day, that is sin. Or in other words, missing God's "mark" or "will" for our lives. But God gives us a way out to always have a road to choose when faced with the option to choose us or God:
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Isn’t that repentance? It’s turning from sin (our approval of us) and moving forward into God’s grace (God's approval of us). The best way to overcome the temptation and choose God's will is to follow the one who always overcame temptation and always chose God's will. That's Jesus. So seek Christ. Worship. Pray. Fill your room with the praises of Christ. Seek the cross. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. I guarantee it is a lot harder to “miss God’s will for your life” when you’ve got Jesus Culture playing in your room with your Bible on your bed and a Scripture graphic on your phone. Our will is going to do everyting in it’s power ot sabotauge us and derail us from what God’s plan is for us. Our weaknesses, pride and lusts of life will get us off track. So choose God’s will. Pursue God’s will.
If lust says “I want it” then
let pursuit say “I want God.”
If pride says, “I got this on my own”
then let pursuit say “I got God and He’s with me.”
If weakness says “I can’t do it, I wanna give up”
then let pursuit say, “God can do it" because of Grace and His strength made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I’ve said this before but what if we saw Holiness as not "what I can't do" ... but "who I'm with." God says "be Holy as I am Holy" not "do holy like I do Holy" (1 Peter 1:15-16; Leviticus 20:26). You become like who you spend the most time with. So spend time with God in prayer, in church, in community life, in settings where God is lifted up. The world says it’s about "what's in you" but God says it's about "who's with you."
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him...." Psalm 27:4
It’s not just about stopping bad behaviors but it's also about starting new ones. So make a choice today to "exchange your will power for God's will to power you."
Any other thoughts you would add?