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Pointers along the way #228

Not my will
- Jacob Ninan

It was not just at Gethsemane that Jesus said, "Not my will, but Yours be done" (Lk.22:42). It was His entire way of life (Jn.5:19,30). How is it for us? Is it only at the really difficult times that we turn to God and seek to know His will? Or perhaps it is only at major junctures of our life such as getting married or taking up a job that we seek His will. But why don't we live our lives in such a way that we are always subject to His will?

Is it that moment by moment we must ask God what He wants us to do? That is to take this in an unrealistic and legalistic manner. When we are asked to pray without ceasing do we pray all the time? No. It is not possible for anyone to do that literally. It refers to an attitude of prayer and dependence on God, and an attitude of submission to God's will. It is the same attitude that causes us to say, in effect, "Not my will but Yours, Lord" all the time. We cannot go around saying that all the time with our lips, of course. But it is an attitude where we are submitted to do God's will. We do ask Him now and then, whenever we are faced with choices, what we should do. At other times we place ourselves in the place where we are open to hearing His voice and taking action on whatever He tells us.

If we try to find out God's will at special times without having lived with this attitude of "Not my will but Yours" at other times, we will find it difficult to hear His voice or to know His will. Jesus said that it is those who were keenly interested in doing His will who would understand His ways (Jn.7:17).

It is true that many times we feel strongly about our own will and it is difficult to say, "Not my will, but Yours" with meaning. But we should remember that His will is always much better. The fact that we trip and fall at times should not hinder us from continuing to seek God's will. There is forgiveness for our sins and a clean white-board for us every time we confess our sins (1Jn.1:9). Our failure should only teach us to cling more tightly and walk more closely with the Lord. We also have others walking along with us who can pick us up, dust off our clothes and hold our hands as we move on.

It is only those who trust God who are willing to place every part of their lives into His will. The more we get to know God the better we are able to trust Him. He never lets us down even though at times it may look as if He has because we cannot always understand His ways. He plans only for our good, and He will never let the control go out of His hands (1Co.10:13). He has a plan for our entire life and we can do nothing better than following it as closely as possible (Ps.139:16). Even when we mess up something in our life He comes out with Plan B (and Plans C, D, E, etc.) that will still cause us to accomplish His purposes for our life. Think of Moses who blew it at the age of 40, but was still enabled to take off again at the age of 80, and many others like him. There is nothing so satisfying as knowing that what we have done is God's will.