Where the Battle is Won…Or Lost
April 12, 2017
"You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you" (Psalm 82:6, ESV).
Deep within every human soul resides a kingdom where self is sovereign. In this little fiefdom of autonomy the unholy trinity of me, myself and I reigns supreme. Here, I sit on the throne of my life enacting decrees, making judgments, forming decisions and controlling my destiny. Outside, I must adjust and even submit to the reality of others and their little kingdoms. But here, within my inner citadel, I'm in control. Not even God will violate the borders of my kingdom within. Biblical psychology calls this inner kingdom "the will." In no other aspect of our being are we more like God than in this capacity to exercise sovereign control. Indeed, as far as this kingdom within is concerned, we are "gods" (Psalm 82:6). The Bible has much to say about the will.
1. The will is the only thing I really possess. One day all my earthly belongings will disappear: wealth, talents, health, possessions, etc. Ultimately, the only thing I truly possess is my will.
2. The will is the only thing God really wants. The gospel makes it clear that what God really wants is not my money, time or talents. He wants me! He wants my will. This means abdicating the control center of my life so that He can reign uncontested as sovereign Lord. The only thing I really possess is the only thing God really wants.
3. The will is twisted. But here's the rub. The moment I begin to discover Christ's intention to rule in my heart, I discover that His will and my will are in conflict. What He wants, I oppose. And what He detests is the very thing I want. The thought of abdicating control strikes terror in my heart. I don't want what He wants! (Genesis 6:5).
4. The will must be conquered. Like a wild horse, an untamed soul must be broken. The will must be conquered. Until this happens, I will be like a wild stallion, impressive to watch from a distance perhaps, but useless for God's purposes.
5. Victory through surrender. In this battle, victory comes through surrender, not when I get my way but when He gets his! I win when I lose. But surrender is harder than it looks. "I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out" (Romans 7:18, NIV). No one abdicates control without divine help. The Good News is that grace can do what I can't. He enables me to will and to do what I know I should (Philippians 2:13). But I have to ask for His help. I have to be willing to be made willing! Few people understood this better than Oswald Chambers:
The battle is lost or won in the secret places of the will before God, never first in the external world. The Spirit of God apprehends me and I am obliged to get alone with God and fight the battle out before Him. Until this is done, I lose every time. The battle may take one minute or a year, that will depend on me, not on God; but it must be wrestled out alone before God and I must resolutely go through the hell of a renunciation before God. Nothing has any power over the man who has fought out the battle before God and won there." —My Utmost for His Highest
Friend, who sits on the throne of your life? Ultimately, there are two options and only two: my will be done... thy will be done. Neutrality is impossible. Not to decide is to decide. What will you choose?
Point to Ponder: Breaking the will, like breaking a horse, is often a violent battle, but the end result is a thing of beauty.
Prayer focus: That God would reveal areas in your life that are un-surrendered.