How my will and God’s will intersect is not always crystal clear for me. Bev and I were talking about some life-changing decisions we’ve made in the past; accepting new positions, relocating to a different church. What part did God’s will play in those choices and what part did we play? Even the two of us who shared in those decisions saw them differently. At various times one of us saw God leading, while the other viewed the choice as human will in operation! One move from long ago she labeled ‘impulsive,’ on my part, while I called it an obedient response to God’s leading. To a degree, we both are right. How can I say that? Because I am convinced that both of the following statements are true despite the apparent contradiction: God rules the affairs of my life; and I have the freedom to cooperate or resist His will.
The story of Mary, mother of Jesus, illustrates the point. God sends his messenger to tell her of His plan that she should bear the Savior of the world. Could she have refused this calling? The Scripture implies that she had that power. Here’s an excerpt of the story. “The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” … the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” (Luke 1:28-31, NIV) “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.” (Luke 1:38, NIV)
God opened the door to an impossibility; Mary stepped through it. Her obedience to the plan of the Lord was difficult and raised questions for which she had no answer. When her Son was born and shepherds showed up to tell of angels’ in the skies announcing that a “Savior has been born to you,: she heard them and “kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.” (Luke 2:19, CEV)
Believer, if we wait until we have all the answers, until we have plotted the whole course from start to finish, before we engage ourselves to do the will of God, we will accomplish little for Him in this life! Sometimes all He gives us is the promise of His Presence to guide and an open door! Like Mary, we need to humbly say, “I am the Lord’s servant!” and step through the door. Some will say we have been impulsive. Others will see us as bold. Some will call us foolish, while others will praise God for our vision! All of that matters little if we are living in humble obedience, seeking to know and do His will from day to day. Are you?
The life of the Spirit-led individual is an adventure. I am not advocating stupidity, arrogance, or irresponsibility. I am not suggesting that any of us should refuse to be accountable to those who offer wise counsel to us. But, we must be ready to hear Heaven’s call and to respond readily. Humility is the key. If we detect even the tiniest amount of grandiosity, even the smallest amount of an attitude that says, “I’ll show you,” we need to throw on the brakes and get our heart right before God. Mary had no need to become famous, no need to be the Messiah’s mother, no need to try to impress God. She was just a peasant girl in Nazareth when God came to her and opened a door of unbelievable opportunity and she said, “Yes!”
Here’s a word from the Word to ponder today.
“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:7-8, NIV)
I’ve a yearning in my heart
that cannot be denied.
It’s a longing that has never yet
I want the world to know
the One who loves them so,
Like a flame it’s burning
To be used of God,
to sing, to speak, to pray.
To be used of God,
to show someone the Way.I long so much,
to feel the touch
of His consuming fire.
To be used of God
is my desire.
When I think about the shortness
of my earthly years.
I remember all the wasted days,
the wasted tears.I long to preach the Word,
to those who’ve never heard,
of the One who can dispel all fears.
To Be Used of God
Audrey Meier© 1954 Manna Music, Inc.
ARR UBP of Manna Music, Inc. (35255 Brooten Road, Pacific City, OR 97135)
CCLI License No. 810055