Written by: Bill Elliff
“I delight to do Thy will, O my God” Psalm 40:8-11
“Sustain me with a willing spirit” Psalm 50:12b
“…the will of God is…good, acceptable, and perfect” Romans 12:2b
We long for joy.
More than momentary happiness, we yearn for deep satisfaction; the inward delight that comes even in the midst of difficulty. Without thinking, we gauge how life is going for us by the measure of our joy.
No joy = bad day.
Some joy = moderate day
Great joy = great day
Our heart aches for this because it was wired in us by the Creator. The problem is not our desire for this joy, but our delusions about its source.
We believe joy is ours to create, so we control. Hovering over life’s thermostat, we look over our shoulders to guard against any thing or person that would touch the dial. We set it securely for comfort because we think this is the only real path to fulfillment. Violently convinced that we can make our lives good, that our will is best, even God’s approach is resisted. When He calls us to a challenging task, a course correction, a missionary step, our hands maintain a death-grip on the dial of our possessions, our schedule, our relationships, and our future.
And it never works. We may know some happy moments, when all is well, but there are two problems: We don’t have a clue what’s really best for our lives and we were never designed to be in control. A fist-clenched life always leads to blind misdirection and spiritual hypertension.
The secret of joy is the relaxed hand of willingness.
Christ knew this. That’s why He said, “I delight to do Thy will.” Even facing the cross, where His humanity cried, “Lord, if possible, please let this cup pass from me,” He knew enough to add, “Yet, not my will, but Thine be done.” Continued willingness carried Him to the cross, but also to glory.
The men and women ahead of us who are spiritually productive – the ones we admire the most – are those who have continually opened their hands. David, the servant-king, who feared the loss of usefulness after a season of sin prayed, “Sustain me – keep me going – with a willing spirit.” A single lapse of surrender had grievously reminded him that only willingness keeps us pressed close to the desires of God.
Trusting the wisdom of those before us and the faithfulness of our good God, we should cry for a loosened grip on our own will and an open hand to God’s all the way to the end.
(copyright, Bill Elliff)
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