I met a young woman years ago who was in the news for having suffered great abuse by her father. She had lived for many years locked in a cupboard under a set stairs. Her father was abusive and controlling and she described how he did all he could to defeat her will. She remarked that our will is the one thing no-one can take off us, even if they can abuse us in every other way.
I was struck by that observation and its focus on something often referred to or reflected in the Bible – Our Will.
I recall one of my sons confessing to my wife and I that he had been harbouring a bad attitude. He described it as “standing up on the inside”. He would do what we asked, but with resentment and his will fighting against us. When God challenged him he repented and softened his heart toward our authority as parents.
Most of us are aware of our will, if only we stopped to notice it. Our inner choices are unseen by others, but very real to us.
God takes those inner choices very seriously, because they have power over our lives.
We can at times think little of things that are significant. People make and break promises at times with hardly a thought. But in a legal setting they could be in great trouble.
Consider what it is like in a court of law when a person is asked a question. Their answer is taken as their declaration of truth. If they change their story later they are up for perjury. And in contracts, once we agree, we are bound by what we have said.
“You are snared with the words of your mouth. You are taken with the words of your mouth.” Proverbs 6:2
Our words and our signature represent expression of our ‘will’. And our will is powerful, for good and for evil.
God gives us many opportunities to be blessed and to receive His grace. But we must choose to receive those blessings. Receiving is a matter of a choice of our will.
Many an offer is made that you and I reject. Often when I walk through a busy shopping mall there are people trying to get my attention to look at their special offer or buy their product. I get phone calls from people wanting to tell me about their special offer for this or that. I can stop and talk with those people, but what I do in every case is keep walking, and I hang up on the phone calls. I have the power of choice to receive their offer or reject it. I am not obligated to say “Yes” just because they push something at me.
When God makes an offer we also have the power to say “Yes” or “No”.
“To all those who received him he gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12
Many people have heard about Jesus and the salvation He offers and walked on, or hung up on God’s message to them. They have used their power of will to choose to ignore what God offers.
That’s their privilege, but it’s also their mistake.
We have been given a most precious and powerful quality in our will, but we often learn early to abuse it.
Our will firstly comes under the power of foolishness. King Solomon informs us that there is foolishness in the heart of each child and that godly discipline will drive that foolishness out of them.
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15
Foolishness includes ideas of self-will and independence, which lead young children to resist the authority of their parents. Most children go through a stage where they like to say “No” to instructions. This is foolishness.
Our will also comes under the influence of our pride and selfishness. Our natural human nature is led by our desires and our pride. We learn to seek out things that indulge our human desires. If foolishness has not been dealt with then we can become quite strongly enslaved to serving ourselves.
Pride is often seen in adults who defer making decisions about things until they think it is best for them. Being able to say “No” gives them a feeling of power and they like to get that feeling of personal independence.
Yielding our will is one of the most wonderful things we can do. God calls us to submit to Him and to live in obedience to Him. We are to love God with all our being.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
Submission is one of the things that is spiritually beautiful, while stubbornness and self-will are ugly.
Wives are instructed to make themselves beautiful with a meek and quiet spirit.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair or gold jewellery or fine clothes, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1Peter 3:3,4
So what we do with our will is more significant than just whether we get our way.
The most wonderful power of our will is to make choices now that will bless us for ever and ever. When we choose to put our faith in Christ, as an act of our will, we become God’s child and our eternal destiny changes in an instant, for ever.
That’s amazing power in our will.
And that’s why the enemy wants our will tangled up with our foolishness, stubbornness, pride, lust and greed. The enemy wants us to sneer at God’s offer and keep going on our way to destruction.
The final page of the Bible carries a call to people to make the right choice with their will.
“Whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17
Friends, give respect to your wonderful will, but be sure to humble yourself and make the most important choice you will make in all eternity, to receive Christ as your saviour and Lord. May you happily be one of those Who Will.