Jesus was in agony, praying to God, “Saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.” Luke 22:42. The will of Jesus was to not drink this cup of the suffering and death upon the cross. But yet He added, not My will, but Thy will be done.
Satan was very successful in heaven, deceiving a third part of the angels, offering to them the freedom of will. No more God’s will, but their own will be done. And this same great deception he is using in this world today. Satan has established thousands of churches, offering heaven and eternal life to their members, and also freedom of will. These churches are popular, some of them growing into millions of members, because people love to do their own will. How many have gone their own way, doing their own will? “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
We should tremble at the thought that our will would be done. To do our own will is selfishness; it is a sin. With everything we do, we must ask the Lord, “Is this Thy will?”
“But Brother S is weak in many things. If God required him to expose and condemn a neighbor, to reprove and correct a brother, or to resist and destroy his enemies, it would be to him a comparatively natural and easy work. But a warfare against self, subduing the desires and affections of his own heart, and searching out and controlling the secret motives of the heart, is a more difficult warfare. How unwilling is he to be faithful in such a contest as this! The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God and being clothed with humility, possessing that love that is pure, peaceable, and easy to be entreated, full of gentleness and good fruits, is not an easy attainment. And yet it is his privilege and his duty to be a perfect overcomer here.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 106–107
People do not like constant self-denying, and cross bearing. “They said unto Him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left hand, in Thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Mark 10:37–38
We are in a war against ourselves, against our desires, our appetites, passions, and our love of comforts. “Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in character be made, by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Sanctification is the work, not of a day, or of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.
“The strongest evidence of man’s fall from a higher state is the fact that it costs so much to return. The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting, inch by inch, every hour. By a momentary act of will, one may place himself in the power of evil; but it requires more than a momentary act of will to break these fetters and attain to a higher, holier life. The purpose may be formed, the work begun; but its accomplishment will require toil, time, and perseverance, patience and sacrifice.
“Beset with temptations without number, we must resist firmly or be conquered. Should we come to the close of life with our work undone, it would be an eternal loss.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 312–313
The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release, the effort must be continuous and persevering. “Yet this battle must be fought by every heart that is truly converted. We must war against temptations without and within. We must gain the victory over self, crucify the affections and lusts; and then begins the union of the soul with Christ.” –Ibid., vol. 5, p. 47
After conversion Satan becomes angry with us, and doubles his temptations towards us. Yet all can overcome in this battle if they put all their body, mind, and soul into it. Jesus said, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast if from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Matthew 5:29–30
So important is our salvation that any sacrifice should be done for it. Christian martyrs sacrificed even their lives. Then it is not important anymore what I want, what I desire—our desires and wants have been crucified. They are dead. God’s will is the only important thing then for us. This is the victory; then we are overcomers, submitting ourselves completely to His leading, and to His will, in the same way as Jesus did.
Many Christian parents lose their children to the world, because they neglected to control and discipline them when they were babes in their arms. Small children need to submit their will to the parent’s will. If the first manifestation of temper is not subdued, the children grow stubborn. As they grow older, they think that they must have their own way, and that their parents must submit to their wishes and will. The false sympathy and blind love of parents causes them to excuse the faults of their children, and pass them by without correction. Their children are lost as a consequence and the blood of their souls will rest upon the unfaithful parents.
The first great lesson that children are to learn is to know and understand the will of God. We should reinforce this concept every day of life. We are to teach them and help them to gain this knowledge. The will of God is the law of heaven. Children who learn to obey the will of God are far happier than the children who are left to follow their own will.
The only hope for us to overcome sin is to unite our will to the will of God. Until this happens the transforming grace of God cannot be manifest in us.
The will of God is revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. Another way His will is revealed to us is through the appeals of the Holy Spirit. He is making impressions upon our hearts, convincing us of the will of God, and of Satan’s deceptions.
“Jesus says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. There is a condition to this promise—that we pray according to the will of God. But it is the will of God to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life. So we may ask for these blessings, and believe that we receive them, and thank God that we have received them. It is our privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame or remorse. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:1.” –Steps to Christ, p. 51
Let us study the will of God daily, and put it into practice, and see what wonderful change happens in our lives. Angels in heaven obey the will of God, and if we do the same, one day we will unite with them in harmony. Let this be the most important purpose of your life. AMEN.